Indiana’s Supreme Court overturned the preliminary injunction against the state’s abortion restrictions last month, but the fight over the fate of the procedure has only begun.
The ruling meant that the law would be able to go into effect Aug. 1, but the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU of Indiana) filed for a rehearing at the last moment to stall the proceedings until a later date.
The ACLU of Indiana claims that the ban violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and infringes on those who come from varying backgrounds of faith.
“Our class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Hoosier Jews for Choice,” the ACLU of Indiana said, “and five women who, like many Hoosiers, have sincere religious beliefs that they must be able to obtain an abortion under circumstances prohibited by Indiana’s abortion ban.”
The Supreme Court, however, denied the motion for a rehearing of the initial injunction and the law went into effect in late August.
The second legal hearing over the law is set to be in December.
Exceptions to the ban will include rape or incest before 10 weeks of pregnancy, risk of impairment or death to the mother as determined by a medical doctor’s reasonable judgement , or the diagnosis of a fatal fetal anomaly.
However, medical centers are moving forward as if the law were in effect, and the six abortion centers in Indiana have stopped providing abortions in accordance with the law, which revokes their medical licensure to do so.
In the meantime, Planned Parenthood plans to continue providing all other services including wellness visits, STI testing, emergency contraception, and hormones for individuals with gender dysphoria over the age of 18 at their 11 regional clinics.
What’s Next for the Pro-Life Movement?
While the law remains unclear, pro-life activists and officials alike are continuing to do outreach.
Caleb Manring, president of Life Defenders at IUPUI made it clear that regardless of what happens with the law, people will still be referred out of state for abortions so their job to change minds on the issue is as important as ever.
“Moving forward, we must now be focused more on changing the culture, and changing minds before abortion is sought in the first place” he said.
While the ban will restrict most abortions in the state, those allowed will be relegated to hospitals or hospital-owned ambulatory surgical centers.
“This will make it more difficult to advocate for the unborn in their last hour,” said Manring, “as this will move the forefront of the fight from clinics to hospitals.”
Many activists are working around the clock to show the outpouring of support and resources available for mothers who find themselves in difficult positions. Currently, Pregnancy Resource centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics nearly 14 to 1, and offer an array of services for both the mother and child in difficult circumstances.
“Indiana was one of the first states to establish Safe Haven Baby Boxes, which allows women to surrender their baby anonymously,” said Avie Sark, President of Democrats for Life of Indiana. “We have countless pregnancy resource centers and organizations willing to go above and beyond for pregnant women in Indiana. No woman stands alone in a post-roe Indiana.”
Additionally, Let Them Live was founded in 2019 to help pregnant women in need be able to choose life by offering them financial support, which often includes paying for rent, utilities, car payments, a baby registry, financial literacy classes, counseling, and assistance in finding full-time employment.
Rachel Reiter is a recent graduate from IUPUI with her Bachelor’s in Health and Human Sciences. During her time at IUPUI she was actively involved in several organizations including the Christian Student Fellowship.