Indiana very pro-life law takes effect Tuesday

By Dave Andrusko

On June 30, the Indiana Supreme Court vacated a temporary injunction issued by Judge Kelsey B. Hanlon against Senate Enrolled Act 1, ruling that the state’s new comprehensive pro-life law does not violate the state constitution. As a result SEA 1 will go into effect tomorrow!

Pro-abortionists held rallies yesterday in Indianapolis—where about 25 people showed up—and more were scheduled for today. Sunday’s gathering was organized by the Indianapolis branch of the National Organization for Women.  

When the justices handed down their decision, Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, said, “Indiana’s unborn babies are the victors in today’s ruling.” The court’s decision “sends a message to the rest of the nation that when we stand together with love and compassion in protecting unborn babies and supporting pregnant mothers, we save lives, improve lives and support a national culture that values life,” Fichter added. 

The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision “overturned a county judge’s ruling that the ban likely violates the state constitution’s privacy protections, which she said are stronger than those found in the U.S. Constitution,” reported The Associated Press’s Tom Davies.  Judge Hanlonwrote, “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.  “That judge’s order had allowed abortions to continue in Indiana since September, despite the ban.”

The Indiana legislature was the first to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe. Senate Enrolled Act 1, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in August, allows abortions only in cases of rape or incest, when there’s a serious risk to the life of the mother or when fatal fetal anomalies are present.

Justice Derek R. Molter wrote that the state’s constitution “protects a woman’s right to an abortion that is necessary to protect her life or to protect her from a serious health risk, but the General Assembly otherwise retains broad legislative discretion for determining whether and the extent to which to prohibit abortions.”

The plaintiffs — “which included Planned Parenthood and multiple other health care providers — unsuccessfully brought a ‘facial’ challenge to the entire law, alleging that the abortion ban is always unconstitutional and should therefore be voided,” Casey Smith of the Indiana Capital Chronicle reported. “The state Supreme Court said the providers ‘cannot show a reasonable likelihood of success’ with that challenge, however.”

Abortionists “could now lose their medical license if they perform an illegal abortion or fail to file required reports,” Ashlyn Wright reported. “The Senate passed the bill with a 28-19 vote and the House passed the bill with a 62-38 vote” [].

Indiana Right to Life president and CEO Mike Fichter said at the time, “There is no right to abortion in the Indiana Constitution.”

“The United States Supreme Court made it clear abortion policy is to be decided by the people of each state, which is exactly what happened when the Indiana legislature acted following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade. We hope the court will act quickly in upholding the new law so Indiana can move forward in ending the majority of abortions in our state. There is a great urgency to the court acting swiftly as over 150 unborn children continue to die from abortion in Indiana every week the new law remains blocked.

Meanwhile there is a second separate challenge to Indiana’s

Senate Bill 1 from litigants who claim it infringed on their right to exercise their religion under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).