While Indiana’s partial abortion ban was certified as constitutional by the Supreme Court this month, and all Indiana abortion clinics stopped offering abortions on Aug. 1, there are still some questions about how the law will be enforced.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears released a statement shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, where he refused to enforce any further abortion restrictions passed by the state of Indiana. However, after a former Clinic for Women employee attempted to sell an investigative reporter an illegal pill abortion for $500, some are still waiting to see his response.
“We do not need to criminalize women and our medical professionals who would not otherwise be involved in the criminal justice system,” Mears said last year. “The Prosecutor’s Office will continue to use its limited resources on addressing violent crime and those that threaten the safety of the public at large.”
Mears has been criticized for refusing to prosecute certain cases in the past.
“Every prosecutor takes an oath and swears that they will enforce the law,” said Cyndi Carrasco, former candidate for county prosecutor. “That enforcement doesn’t mean picking and choosing which laws to actually enforce.”
An Illegal Abortion in Indianapolis
Clinic for Women, an abortion clinic in Indianapolis, made the decision to shut down and move to a location in Danville, Illinois shortly after the partial ban was certified. Danville made headlines last year for passing an ordinance declaring the shipping or mailing of abortion pills illegal.
However, an employee at Clinic for Women appears to have violated Indiana law a day after the abortion restrictions went into effect.
“This is strictly between me and you now you know, because this is not supposed to [unintelligible] we’re not supposed to be doing this,” said Bridget Bridgeforth on a recording of a phone call with an investigative reporter for Real News Michiana. “I’m not supposed to be doing this because it’s illegal.”
Bridgeforth offered an abortion to the reporter, who was posing as an 8-week pregnant transgender person, for $500 at her home. However, it is unclear how she would have had access to the abortion pills, since according to clinic owner Ladonna Prince, only the director of the clinic had access to them.
Real News Michiana then tipped off the attorney general, Todd Rokita about the situation.
It is unclear, however, who would have jurisdiction over the prosecution of this case. Under the partial abortion ban, if a local prosecutor makes a blanket refusal to enforce the abortion law, the case would then be referred to a special legislative task force that could grant the attorney general or another prosecuting attorney “concurrent jurisdiction to enforce the statute.”
The Collegiate Commons reached out to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for more information.
“As this matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Office,” said Marisa Watson-Juarez, deputy communications director for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, “you may reach out to them for further comment.”
We asked for further clarification, and also reached out to the Attorney General’s Office, but have yet to receive a response. This article will be updated accordingly.
Students Protest at Mears’s Office
Nevertheless, Students for Life Action along with Voices for Life and other local pro-life groups decided to protest outside of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office on Sept. 2 to encourage Mears to prosecute.
“No one should ever tolerate the dismembering or suctioning of any human being,” said Ben Ice, Michigan and Indiana regional director for Students for Life. “We need to be there to defend the most vulnerable among us. Abortion is a direct, violent assault on pre-born human rights, and the least we can do is uphold the law by prosecuting abortionists.”
About thirty people showed up for the event on Saturday.
Melanie Lyon, director of Voices for Life, asked those in attendance to consider if Bridgeforth had illegally offered an abortion pill to a young woman, or a desperate student at IUPUI, instead of an investigative reporter.
“And imagine this girl had gone to her house. And taken this medication without physician oversight, without having a medical grade pregnancy test to even confirm the pregnancy without an ultrasound to confirm the gestational age of the baby or to rule out ectopic pregnancy,” she said. “Chances are, with this back alley abortion that Clinic for Women sold her, this girl would have ended up in the emergency room like too many people who take these pills to end the lives of their children.”
Calls for an Investigation of Clinic for Women
Lyon further called on the owner of the clinic, Ladonna Prince, to be investigated for negligence for hiring Bridgeforth, who has a criminal record and an active warrant for her arrest.
“Ms. Prince, I want to know. How did one of your employees access this so-called drug cabinet when only you, in your own words, had access to it?” she said. “And Ms. Prince, I want to know why you hired Bridget Bridgeforth, an individual who was booked into the Shelby County jail for possession of cocaine and marijuana in 2020 to work in an environment that dispenses drugs.”
According to Lyon, Voices for Life has filed complaints against each doctor employed at Clinic for Women, including Kathleen Glover, Resed Pasic, Ragan Brackett and Raymond Robinson asking that they be investigated to ensure that no medication is being illegally stored in their homes.
“The doctors who are doing abortions in hospitals now are Planned Parenthood abortionists like Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who was disciplined by the Medical Licensing Board for violating the privacy of her 10 year old patient,” Lyon went on, “and Amy Caldwell, who according to her own documentation killed two women last year in chemical abortion procedures. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust people like Dr. Caldwell who butcher 18 week babies to follow any laws.”
She finished by urging protestors to be vocal about holding public officials like Mears accountable.
“So please, be vigilant in your watch and be unwavering in the pressure you put on public officials like Ryan Mears to enforce the laws that they swore to uphold.”
This is an ongoing investigation. This article will be updated with more information as it is available.
Jacob Stewart is a senior majoring in neuroscience at IUPUI. He founded The Collegiate Commons in the Summer of 2023 and currently serves as editor-in-chief. He also serves as the college outreach director for the Young Americans for Solidarity.