Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita files a response today to the ACLU’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s abortion ban. He confirmed there is no right to abortion in the state constitution.
He is asking a judge to deny the request for a temporary injunction and to allow the abortion ban to continue saving babies from abortions.
“The constitutional text nowhere mentions abortion as a protected right, and Indiana history demonstrates abortion was regarded as criminal— not a cherished core value,” he wrote in the response.
“The plaintiffs (collectively, Planned Parenthood) urge the judiciary to recognize a novel, unwritten, historically unsupported right to abortion under Article 1, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution,” the attorney general’s office argues. “Planned Parenthood does not cite any history that supposedly demonstrates the existence of a right to privacy or abortion either.
Special Judge Kelsey Hanlon declined to block the law last week but is holding oral arguments today.
A second lawsuit from the ACLU of Indiana falsely claims the abortion ban violates the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and hearing in that case is set for October.
Indiana Right to Life CEO Mike Fichter told LifeNews the abortion ban was a long time coming. He celebrated the day but also mourned the loss of almost 500,000 babies killed in abortions in Indiana since Roe v. Wade.
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“Today marks a new opportunity for all of us in Indiana to come together to show true love and compassion for pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. It’s taken 50 years, and the loss of over 500,000 lives to abortion in Indiana alone, to finally arrive at this day,” he said.
He said he hoped the law would bring people together to protect pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Fichter added: “This historic moment is not about who wins and who loses, or about mere politics and court battles, but about a fresh new hope that a movement of the heart will unfold in Indiana that sets the pace for protecting life and providing the care and support pregnant mothers deserve.”
Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade the Indiana legislature became the first in the nation to pass an abortion ban after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The measure went to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who signed the bill into law almost immediately.
The Planned Parenthood abortion business is not happy and filed a lawsuit challenging the ban in court.
However, an Indiana judge indicated today that she would not hold a hearing on the lawsuit until next Monday, which allows the abortion ban to go into effect this week. The special judge overseeing the case issued an order Monday setting a court hearing for September 19. As AP reports:
The lawsuit was filed in southern Indiana’s Monroe County, which includes the liberal-leaning city of Bloomington and Indiana University’s main campus, but two elected Democratic judges from that county declined to handle the case without stating any reasons.
Judge Kelsey Hanlon, a Republican from neighboring Owen County, accepted appointment as special judge last week. Hanlon, who was first elected as a judge in 2014, was among three finalists that the state Judicial Nominating Commission selected in July for GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb to consider for appointment to the state appeals court.
No court action had yet taken place as of Monday on a separate lawsuit filed Thursday in Marion County arguing the ban is at odds with the state’s religious freedom law, which Republicans enacted seven years ago.
The lawsuit filed in a Monroe County court claims the ban, set to take effect on Sept. 15, “strips away the fundamental rights of people seeking abortion care” in violation of the Indiana Constitution. It argues the law “will infringe on Hoosiers’ right to privacy, violate Indiana’s guarantee of equal privileges and immunities, and includes unconstitutionally vague language.”
Fichter says the state constitution protects the right to life, not abortion.
He told LifeNews: “Not only is there no right to an abortion in the Indiana Constitution, it actually states life is one of our inalienable rights. We are confident the state will prevail and pray the new law is not blocked from going into effect on September 15, knowing that any delay will mean the indiscriminate killing of unborn children will continue at abortion clinics across Indiana.”
Under the ban, abortionists would face a loss of their medical license and be charged with a Level 5 felony, which carries a sentence of one to six years in prison, for killing a baby in an abortion.
Indiana Right to Life initially opposed the bill as its first incarnation was weaker and lacked the enforcement mechanism necessary to truly ban aboritons and hold abortionists accountable for killing unborn babies. Fichter told LifeNews the pro-life group is now satisfied with the House version following changes to strengthen it.
“Indiana Right to Life believes substantive changes to SB1 in the House provide renewed hope that over 95% of Indiana’s 8,414 abortions will end if it becomes law. House amendments will make abortion clinics a thing of the past in Indiana, requiring that abortions for limited circumstances be done in hospitals, or hospital-owned surgical centers,” Fichter explained.
He added: “The House also tightened language for the life of the mother exception, limited abortions to ten weeks in circumstances of rape or incest, and limited abortions for lethal fetal anomalies to 20 weeks.”
“We will continue to work to build consensus going forward that all lives are to be valued, regardless of the means of one’s conception,” he said.
Fichter said he expects every abortion business in Indiana to be closed by September once the bill becomes law.
As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.
Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.
Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.
Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.
Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.
Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.
Despite false reports that abortion bans would prevent doctors from treating pregnant women for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, pro-life doctors confirm that is not the case. Some 35 states have laws making it clear that miscarriage is not abortion and every state with an abortion ban allows treatment for both.