INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court denied the request for a rehearing of the abortion ban preliminary injunction on Monday. This decision will certify the court’s June decision that Indiana’s near-total abortion ban signed in August 2022 did not violate the state’s constitution.
Monday’s decision, which was decided in a 4-1 vote, will certify the overturning of the abortion ban preliminary injunction that blocked the ban. Justice Mark Massa, Justice Geoffrey Slaughter and Justice Derek Molter concurred with the decision, while Chief Justice Loretta Rush also concurred with the decision with a separate opinion. Justice Christopher Goff was the only justice to dissent from the decision.
According to previous reports, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in late June that the ban did not violate the state constitution and overturned a preliminary injunction that blocked the ban. In response to this ruling, the ACLU of Indiana asked the court for a rehearing on the decision under their belief that the right to abortion is included under Article 1, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution, which continued the block of the ban.
These developments were in response to the passage of Senate Bill 1 by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in August 2022. The bill prohibited all abortions in the state except for:
- In the case a physician determines that an “abortion is necessary when reasonable medical judgment dictates that performing the abortion is necessary to prevent any serious health risk to the pregnant woman or to save the pregnant woman’s life.”
- In the case a physician determines that the fetus has a “lethal fetal anomaly,” before the earlier of viability or twenty (20) weeks of post-fertilization age.
- In the case the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, an abortion can be performed during the first 10 weeks of post-fertilization.
According to previous reports, all other circumstances of abortion would result in criminal penalties for physicians who violate SEA 1. It could also cause physicians to have their medical licenses revoked.
In a concurring, yet separate, opinion that accompanied the decision, Rush said that while she is concerned about SEA 1’s impact on “Hoosier women’s constitutional right to seek medical care that is necessary to protect their life or to protect them from a serious health risk,” she stressed that the plaintiffs in the case did not “properly” bring the concerns to the court.
“(The plaintiffs) have asked us to order that the original injunction – which enjoins the State from enforcing Senate Bill 1 in its entirety – remain in effect while they return to the trial court with a request for a narrower injunction that is ‘addressed to the breadth of the abortion right that this Court held to be protected by Article 1, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution,'” Rush wrote. “There is simply no sound legal basis for an interim injunction that is even broader than the relief Plaintiffs intend to pursue in the trial court. And for good reason, our system requires Plaintiffs to first seek their proposed, narrower relief in the trial court…”
In a dissenting opinion that also accompanied the decision, Goff said there are deficiencies in SEA 1 and the bill, in its current form, could have serious impacts on women. Goff said that under the current bill, abortion is not permitted in response to:
- “Conditions that cause serious pain, suffering or disability without irreversible impairment,”
- “Severe psychiatric illnesses, which may require medication that can’t be taken during pregnancy,”
- “Psychiatric issues that may lead to suicide or self-harm.”
“These are all potentially severe medical problems,” Goff’s dissent reads. “And seeking medically necessary treatment for them likely falls within the ambit of the constitutional right to protect one’s life and health. Unless our colleagues in the General Assembly act to address these deficiencies, the State must be enjoined from enforcing Senate Bill 1 in ways that prevent women from seeking necessary medical aid.”
In the dissent, Goff provides an opinion regarding a revised statewide injunction, which said that enforcement of SEA 1 should be restrained in circumstances where a physician has determined “in good faith” that an abortion is medically necessary. Goff also said that the General Assembly could modify SEA 1 to take into account the concerns.
“This would be for a limited time – perhaps 60 days – so the trial court can hear arguments and evidence and consider whether to enter a new injunction,” the dissent reads. “Maintaining this restriction for now would provide the added benefit of preserving a stable legal environment for women, healthcare providers and law enforcement.”
According to officials with the Indiana Supreme Court, the decision will take immediate effect once the certification is entered on the Chronological Case Summary on MyCase. According to court records, the decision has been certified as of Monday afternoon.
In a statement provided to FOX59/CBS4, officials from the ACLU of Indiana said:
Today is a dark day in Indiana’s history, as a near-total abortion ban takes effect. We have seen the horrifying impact of bans like this across the country, and the narrow exceptions included in this extreme ban will undoubtedly put Hoosiers’ lives at risk. We will continue to fight in court to clarify and expand upon the current exceptions. Every person should have the fundamental freedom to control their own body and politicians’ personal opinions should play no part in this personal decision.ACLU of Indiana
In a statement from Rebecca Gibron, the chief executive officer for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, she said:
Patients across Indiana and the region are already suffering from this abortion ban. But rest assured, Planned Parenthood is still here for you. Our patient navigators are here to help you access the care you need – even if that means traveling out of state.
Let us be clear: whether you’re white, Black, brown, or Indigenous – whether you’re straight, gay, or trans – whether you have health insurance or you’re uninsured – Planned Parenthood will never back down, not now, not ever, from fighting for and providing you the care you need.Rebecca Gibron, the chief executive officer for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky
This story is developing and will be updated if new information becomes available.