The decade's most triggering comedy
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state’s abortion ban was constitutional in a win for pro-life advocates in the state.
In a split decision, the state’s highest court overruled a county judge who had ruled it was likely unconstitutional. Once in effect, the law will prohibit abortions after six weeks except if there is a lethal fetal defect or a serious health risk to the mother.
“The Indiana Supreme Court has just upheld the abortion laws passed by the Indiana General Assembly. We celebrate this day — one long in coming, but morally justified. Thank you to all the warriors who have fought for this day that upholds LIFE,” Indiana’s Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a statement.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed the measure during a special session in August 2022, making Indiana the first state in the country to pass such legislation after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers challenged the law, claiming that the law violated the rights to privacy, bodily autonomy, and self-determination — none of which are found in the Indiana Constitution.
The Indiana court rejected Planned Parenthood’s argument, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the same argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Justice Derek Molter wrote in his majority opinion that the Indiana Constitution “protects a woman’s right to an abortion” only when “necessary to protect her life or to protect her from a serious health risk.” He also stated that Indiana’s legislature “otherwise retains broad legislative discretion for determining whether and the extent to which to prohibit abortions.”
Despite the favorable ruling, the law still faces another legal challenge. The ACLU and Hoosier Jews for Choice allege that the law violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) because some religions allow women to have an abortion in cases that are illegal under the abortion ban.
A Marion County judge issued a preliminary injunction against the law, which remains in effect despite the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling. However, the injunction only applies to those involved in the RFRA challenge, meaning the law will take effect for everyone else in the state.
The victory for pro-life advocates comes amid legal setbacks in many states, including Iowa, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, where judges have enjoined or ruled unconstitutional similar abortion restrictions.