BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A Monroe County special judge is now considering a pause on Indiana’s near-total ban on abortion.
This comes after the ACLU of Indiana and a group of abortion providers filed a lawsuit to block the new abortion law, arguing it’s a right to privacy violation under the Indiana Constitution.
Monday’s hearing in Monroe Circuit Court focused on whether Special Judge Kelsey Hanlon should grant a preliminary injunction and put the law on hold as the case is decided.
The new law, which took effect September 15, bans abortion at all times during pregnancy, except in cases of rape or incest up to 10 weeks postfertilization, risk to the mother’s health and fetal fatal anomaly.
“Women have a right to privacy that includes abortion rights,” said Ken Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana.
Falk argues that’s protected since the Indiana Constitution gives people the right to liberty.
“The illustration I gave was the right to have as many children as we want,” Falk said. “We would react against that if the state tried to take that from us by saying you’re invading our privacy rights.”
Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher disagrees with Falk’s argument, noting the Indiana Constitution does not specifically mention the right to privacy.
“Abortion was never understood to be a right secured to the people either in common law or under the constitution,” Fisher said.
In the courtroom, Judge Hanlon asked Fisher whether there’s anything that would limit the legislature’s ability to ban oral contraception. Fisher argued that’s a “different question” than the one at the center of the lawsuit.
“We always have to ask what is the legitimate purpose of the legislation, no matter what we’re talking about,” Fisher said. “And with abortion it’s clear. The purpose of the legislation, which is not only legitimate but compelling, is to save human lives.”
Judge Hanlon did not provide a timeline for she may make a decision on whether to grant a preliminary injunction but said she would do so “expeditiously.”
A separate lawsuit, also filed by the ACLU of Indiana, argues the near-total abortion ban comes into conflict with Indiana’s religious freedom law.