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Indiana judge temporarily blocks near-total abortion ban

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A judge temporarily blocked Indiana’s near-total abortion ban on Thursday, one week after the new law took effect.

A preliminary injunction granted by Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon paused enforcement of the law, which bans most abortions from conception, until the courts determine whether it violates the state constitution.

Indiana was the first state to pass a new abortion ban in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade. State lawmakers on Aug. 5 passed a bill that bars abortion after conception, with narrow exceptions for victims of rape or incest, to save the life of the pregnant person and in cases where the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. That law took effect on Sept. 15.

Abortion providers in the state, including Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana and Kentucky, have challenged the ban on the grounds that it violates privacy protections in the state constitution and violates the requirement for equal protection under the law. Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher, who is defending the law on behalf of the state, argued in court this week that the constitution does not establish the right to an abortion.

In her order granting the injunction, Hanlon said that whether privacy protections exist in Indiana remains an “open question” but that there is a “reasonable likelihood” the courts will side with the plaintiffs.

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“Because of these considerations, and the history of Indiana’s Constitution being interpreted to provide greater protection to individual citizens than its federal counterpart, there is a reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution and the Plaintiffs will prevail,” Hanlon wrote.

Clinics, which stopped performing abortions last week, will be able to resume abortion services while the lawsuit moves through the courts.

“We knew this ban would cause irreparable harm to Hoosiers, and in just a single week, it has done just that,” the plaintiffs said in a statement on Thursday. “We are grateful that the court granted much needed relief for patients, clients, and providers, but this fight is far from over.”

Source: Washington Post

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