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Last minute legal maneuvers by the ACLU keep Indiana comprehensive pro-life law from taking effect

by | Aug 1, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

At the eleventh hour, pro-abortionists in Indiana have once again used delaying tactics to prevent Senate Enrolled Act 1 from taking effect. Senate Bill 1, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in August 2022, 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. 

The Chicago Sun Times explained that “The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asked the state’s high court Monday 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.”

A month ago, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the law does not violate the state Constitution. Justice Derek R. Molter wrote that the state’s constitution “protects a woman’s right to an abortion that is necessary to protect her life or to protect her from a serious health risk, but the General Assembly otherwise retains broad legislative discretion for determining whether and the extent to which to prohibit abortions.”

But, according to Casey Smith, “until the high court certifies its decision, an injunction remains in place — blocking the new law from taking effect.  At earliest, decisions can be certified 30 days after a ruling is issued. Because the June 30 ruling was not certified by Monday, it will not take effect on Tuesday.”

In other words, the ACLU of Indiana had a month to petition the court to rehear the case and they took full advantage, waiting until the last second. Moreover, “The ACLU of Indiana additionally filed for a rehearing on Monday, pushing back the date of certification even farther,” Brandon Smith reported.

“The providers have asked the court to again temporarily halt the ban from taking effect — as it had been since last year.” The ACLU “said it’s going to file a new request to block the law at the trial court level, under the narrower guidelines of the Supreme Court’s recent decision,” according to Smith. “The providers argue that the law’s definition of what constitutes a serious health risk is more restrictive than what the Supreme Court said the state constitution might allow.”

The law can’t take effect until the Indiana Supreme Court answers the ACLU’s petition.

While the ACLU of Indiana conceded that the Indiana Supreme Court had held that the trial judge “erred” in its conclusion that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on the claim that the ban violates this portion of the constitution, the ACLU argued it nonetheless “left open left open the possibility that this constitutionally protected right ‘may be broader than the current statutory exception…’”

Categories: ACLU