Indiana Supreme Court Rules Near-Total Abortion Ban Can Take Effect

FILE - Abortion-rights protesters fill Indiana Statehouse corridors and cheer outside legislative chambers, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, as lawmakers vote to concur on a near-total abortion ban, in Indianapolis. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday, June 30, 2023, that the state's abortion ban doesn't violate the state constitution, removing a major hurdle to enforcing the ban Republicans approved last summer. (AP Photo/Arleigh Rodgers, File)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Today, the Indiana Supreme Court allowed S.E.A. 1, the state’s total abortion ban, to take effect. Abortion will be banned in Indiana, with limited exceptions, as soon as August 1. A block remains in effect as a result of another lawsuit, brought by the ACLU of Indiana, which claims the law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This aims to allow abortion access for Hoosiers who have sincere religious beliefs that they must be able to obtain an abortion. S.E.A. 1 was the first abortion ban to pass after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. The law briefly went into effect on September 15, 2022, before being blocked on September 22, 2022 while the case continued. 

S.E.A. 1 outlaws abortion almost entirely and threatens providers with criminal penalties. The ban contains limited exceptions: serious risk to the health or life of a pregnant person; diagnosis of a “lethal fetal anomaly,”; and rape or incest before 12 weeks of pregnancy. S.E.A. 1 requires that any abortions allowed under law's narrow exceptions be provided in a hospital, which is neither affordable nor widely accessible for many patients. 

Joint statement from leaders from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, ACLU of Indiana, All-Options, the Lawyering Project, and Women’s Med: 

“We are devastated by the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling today which will deprive more than 1.5 million people in Indiana— particularly Black, Latino, and Indigenous people, people with low incomes, and LGBTQ+ people, who already face the most challenges when seeking medical care —  of life-saving, essential health care. Now, patients will be forced either to flee the state to access abortion if they have the means, seek abortion outside of the health care system, or carry pregnancies against their will with profound medical risk and life-altering consequences. Despite this setback, we’ll keep fighting to restore reproductive rights in Indiana and to help Hooisers get access to the services they need. Today’s decision is not the end of our fight for equitable, compassionate care in Indiana, or the patients in surrounding states who rely on Indiana for access to abortion.”

The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Lawyering Project, the ACLU of Indiana, and WilmerHale on behalf of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Women’s Med Group Professional Corp, All-Options, Inc, and Dr. Amy Caldwell.

The ruling can be found here.

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