By Dave Andrusko
On different grounds, a second judge, Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch, has blocked Indiana’s pro-life Senate Enrolled Act 1.
The ACLU argues that the law violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Judge Welch “found the plaintiffs could suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not put in place,” according to reporter Jared Gans. In issuing a preliminary injunction, “She said the ban substantially burdens their religious exercise and is not the least restrictive measure to achieve a governmental interest.”
The Indiana Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the first judge’s ruling next month to determine whether the law violates the state constitution. Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon had blocked the law from being enforced. He wrote, “There is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit.
The state Supreme Court had “denied a request from the state attorney general’s office to set aside the preliminary injunction, setting a hearing on the lawsuit filed by abortion clinic operators for Jan. 12,” Tom Davies of the Associated Press reported.
Indiana’s SB 1 was the first new protective pro-life law passed by a state legislature following the June 24th overturning of Roe v. Wade. SB 1 was passed by the legislature on August 5 and signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Following Judge Hanlon ruling, Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter said “We are deeply disappointed the Indiana Supreme Court will allow the injunction against Indiana’s new abortion law to remain in effect pending appeal. We estimate at least three thousand unborn babies, whose lives otherwise might have been saved, will now needlessly die from abortion as the law remains blocked. Thousands more will die as we await a final ruling after the January hearing. Although we are confident the law will be upheld, it will be far too late for those whose lives will be lost as this is argued in the courts.”