By Dave Andrusko
What’s wrong with this headline from the Indiana Capital Chronicle: “Quarterly abortions sink to 2019 levels, report says”?
“Sink’? Not exactly an unbiased choice of words. Leslie Bonilla Muniz’s story is better.
Indiana abortion clinics and hospitals performed fewer than 2,000 abortions from April through June — the lowest since 2019 — according to a new quarterly report.
Although Indiana’s near-total abortion ban officially went into effect in August, for nearly a year beforehand a legal fight kept enforcement on hold. During that time, the state’s previous abortion law stood — allowing the procedures up to 20 weeks post-fertilization.
From April through June, providers recorded 1,937 abortions, the lowest since 2019’s 1,935, according to the Indiana Department of Health’s second-quarter Terminated Pregnancy Report.
In contrast, second-quarter abortions topped 2,000 during the three years in between: 2020, 2021 and 2022.
In addition, Senate Bill SEA1 eliminated the license for all six abortion clinics, where previously almost all of Indiana’s abortions were performed. “
“The law passed last year limits abortions to be performed in hospitals,” Brittany Carloni of the Indianapolis Star reported. “The vast majority of the more than 9,500 abortions that took place in Indiana occurred in outpatient clinics; fewer than 200 of the procedures occurred in hospitals, according to the state’s annual terminated pregnancy report.”
“Six clinics accounted for 97% of the abortions done in Indiana from April through June, according to the second-quarter report,” Bonilla Muniz added.
Signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in August 2022, SEA 1 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.
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld SEA 1 in August, in spite of eleventh hour stalling tactics by the ACLU of Indiana.
“My office promised to defend Indiana’s pro-life law, and we have done that every step of the way,” said pro-life Attorney General Todd Rokita at the time. “Today, the Indiana Supreme Court certified its opinion rejecting a constitutional challenge to Indiana’s pro-life law, which protects the lives of innocent, unborn babies. This is great news for Hoosier life and liberty. We defeated the pro-death advocates who try to interject their views in a state that clearly voted for life.”
Indiana Supreme Court upholds law 4-1
In July, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the law does not violate the state Constitution. 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.”
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana then asked the state’s high court “to keep Indiana’s near-total abortion ban on hold while it pursues a narrower preliminary injunction in a trial court to address the scope of the ban’s exemption allowing women facing serious health risks to obtain abortions.”
However, “Chief Justice Loretta Rush, in an opinion, stated that the parties asking for a rehearing in the case did not “properly” put concerns about the impact of the abortion law on Hoosier women seeking medical care for serious health conditions or on health care providers,” reported Brittany Carloni of the Indianapolis Star.
“The law passed last year limits abortions to be performed in hospitals,” Carloni continued. “The vast majority of the more than 9,500 abortions that took place in Indiana occurred in outpatient clinics; fewer than 200 of the procedures occurred in hospitals, according to the state’s annual terminated pregnancy report.