Judicial

7th Circuit panel told it should allow Indiana’s pro-life abortion law to permanently take effect

By Dave Andrusko

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit heard arguments yesterday over whether several  provisions of Indiana’s Senate Enrolled Act 340 should be allowed to permanently take effect.

“The underlying lawsuit was filed by abortion providers back in June of 2018 and challenged 25 separate sections of Indiana’s statutory rules on abortions, claiming they served as unconstitutional restrictions on a woman’s right to have an abortion,” David Wells reported.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, issued a permanent injunction barring state employees from enforcing or administering six abortion-related provisions. The following day, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita appealed the federal judge’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral]. 

“Last September a split Seventh Circuit panel stayed the lower court’s injunction until the court issued a final ruling, finding that the state was likely to succeed in its appeal,” according to Wells. “The stay order allowed the challenged provisions to be enforced.”

Yesterday’s  during the 50-minute-long hearing, two of the three  judges asked whether they should hold off in light of an abortion case before the Supreme Court: Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act [Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health], which protects unborn babies from abortion after the 15th week. 

“One thing that is certainly weighing on my mind is whether this court ought to just hold back given that Dobbs is before the Supreme Court,” said Judge Diane Wood. “I had the feeling preparing for today of a kind of interesting intellectual exercise, but what are we really doing here?”

A decision by the Supreme Court is expected in June.

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