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Judge hears second day of testimony in challenge to Indiana’s protective Senate Bill 1 abortion law

by | May 30, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

On Thursday, Judge Kelsey Blake Hanlon heard a second day of testimony in a Planned Parenthood challenge to Indiana’s strongly pro-life Senate Bill 1 law.

The Indiana legislature was the first to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs decision overturning Roe. SB 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.

In September 2022, Judge Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the law. Last June, however, the Indiana Supreme Court disagreed and revived SB1.

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.”

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky; All-Options;  and Dr. Amy Caldwell said in a statement that the lawsuit seeks to “broaden and clarify” legal abortions.

Isabella Volmert, of the Associated Press, wrote

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are asking a Monroe County judge for a preliminary injunction expanding the medical exemptions and blocking the hospital-only requirement. The three-day bench trial before special Judge Kelsey Blake Hanlon began Wednesday with opening arguments and testimony from an OB-GYN who is a plaintiff.

The thrust of the plaintiffs’ argument is that the law’s exception for protecting health “are written so narrowly that in practice, many doctors won’t end a pregnancy even when a woman’s condition qualifies under the statute,” Volmer wrote.

The trial, which is being heard without a jury, is expected to conclude on Friday.

Categories: State Legislation