Reading the tea leaves, a large collection of “abortion providers” took another swing Thursday at Indiana’s comprehensive Senate Bill 1. Signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in August 2022, Senate Bill 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. In addition, abortions must be performed in hospitals.

Suing immediately, abortion providers and the ACLU argued that the entire law was unconstitutional, a conclusion a circuit court found amenable. The judge granted a preliminary injunction in September.

But the state Supreme Court struck down the injunction on June 30. However, pro-abortionists read the opinion to say that a narrower focus might carry the day.

On Thursday opponents of Senate Bill 1 filed their new narrower legal challenge in Monroe County Circuit Court. “They’re challenging the law’s health and life exception and the requirement that abortions be performed only in hospitals,” Kayla Dwyer reported for the Indianapolis Star.

What does the amended complaint say? First, that the

stringent nature of the health and life exception and the hospital requirement have the effect of unconstitutionally limiting patients’ ability to seek abortions to protect themselves from serious health risks.

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Because out-patient clinics in Indiana such as Planned Parenthood performed the ‘vast majority’ of abortions before the ban went into effect, this law requires women to travel farther distances to find the few hospitals who will provide this care, the complaint alleges. The plaintiffs argue further that in those hospitals, the narrow health and life exception has a ‘chilling effect’ among physicians due to the felony penalty for violating the law.

A second appeal was foreshadowed back on June 30 when the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the law. 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.

Hence the new complaint. Dwyer reported

“The fight isn’t over in Indiana,” reads a joint statement from leaders from Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky; ACLU of Indiana; All-Options; the Lawyering Project; and Women’s Med. “While this would be a critical step forward for reproductive freedom, it would not restore access for most people seeking abortion in Indiana. We will continue working to support Hoosiers in getting abortions — and we will continue to fight until access is fully restored.” Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.

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