Indiana AG asks State Supreme Court to take up ACLU challenge to Senate Bill 1, bypassing Court of Appeals

“The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated.”

By Dave Andrusko

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is requesting the state Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction in the ACLU’s challenge to Senate Bill 1, Indiana’s new comprehensive abortion law, rather than the case first going before the Court of Appeals of Indiana.

Judge Kelsey Blake Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction last Thursday, saying in her ruling that the ban “materially burdens the bodily autonomy of Indiana’s women and girls by significantly and arbitrarily limiting their access to care.”

She added that the “public interest will be disserved” without the injunction, Casey Smith reported.

“The public will continue to be subject to the previous abortion regulation regime that was significantly influenced by the United States Supreme Court jurisprudence that identified and expressly reaffirmed privacy right that included abortion for nearly 50 years,” Hanlon wrote in her motion, adding that a temporary pause on enforcement of the ban will last “long enough for the court to address the issue on the merits.”

Under the injunction, “the state’s previous abortion law will stand — allowing abortion up to 20 weeks,” Smith explained. “It also means abortion clinics can again perform the procedure. Planned Parenthood told the Indiana Capital Chronicle on Thursday that abortion care had already resumed.”

Rokita, the state’s top lawyer, is seeking a judicial review of the Monroe Circuit Court ruling in Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Inc., et al. v. Members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana et al.

In calling for the state Supreme Court to hear the case, the state said in its filing “Only this court can provide the final word on this hotly contested, high-profile … question.”

“Unborn lives will almost certainly be lost” if the injunction continues, representatives from Rokita’s office said. “The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated.”

Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter said that the blockage of Indiana’s Senate Bill 1 “means over 161 unborn children will continue to lose their lives to abortion every week this injunction stays in effect.”

“We are encouraged by the judge’s acknowledgement of the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn babies and are hopeful the blockage will be brief,” Fichter said in a statement Thursday.

If Judge Hanlon’s ruling is suspended, Senate Bill 1 would take effect again.

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