- Abortion providers say exceptions in state law don’t adequately protect rights
- Healthcare providers also try to block requests to perform abortions in hospitals
Nov 9 (Reuters) – Indiana abortion provider groups including Planned Parenthood are asking a judge to order upholding abortion rights to protect the life or health of the mother, the state’s Supreme Court recently ruled in a ruling Acknowledging this, the ruling would otherwise uphold a near-total ban on abortion.
In a motion filed Thursday in Monroe County Circuit Court, medical providers said the ban’s exception allowing abortions when the mother faces a “serious health risk” is not specific enough.
They asked the court for an order stating that the exception must be interpreted to allow abortion in cases of poor health, requiring treatment that would endanger the fetus, cause debilitating symptoms during pregnancy, or be likely to endanger or result in a life-threatening condition. Causes lasting damage to the mother’s health.
Without a court order, they say, doctors may wait until dangerous medical conditions become fatal to begin treating them for fear of being prosecuted or losing their licenses.
Medical providers say some patients in the state have been denied medically necessary abortions by the hospitals where they initially sought treatment and have been diverted elsewhere.
“In this case, requiring a patient to wait to be transferred to another hospital before receiving the treatment they need due to fear of liability (for a ban) greatly increases the patient’s medical risk and could have dire and lasting consequences for their health. Consequences,” the motion states.
Medical providers also asked the court to block provisions of the state’s ban requiring all abortions to be performed in hospitals, saying it makes it difficult or impossible for many Indiana residents to get necessary abortions to protect their lives or health because few are available The hospital provides abortion services. Much of this care is concentrated near Indianapolis, the state’s largest city.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office, which has been defending the law against court challenges, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Indiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature passed the abortion ban in August 2022. In addition to life and health exceptions, the law also allows minors to have abortions for rape or incest within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
It is the first new abortion ban passed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent that guaranteed abortion rights nationwide. More than 20 Republican-led states now ban or significantly restrict abortion.
Planned Parenthood and other groups quickly filed lawsuits challenging the law. Judge Kelsey Hanlon, a Republican-elect, blocked the bill in September 2022, saying it violated the right to personal autonomy in the state constitution.
The state Supreme Court disagreed in June and reinstated the law, but also found that the state constitution included a right to abortion to save the mother’s life or prevent serious health risks.
The case is Planned Parenthood Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Inc., et al. v. Members of the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, et al., Monroe County Circuit Court, No. 53C06-2208-PL-001756.
Plaintiffs: Kenneth Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Catherine Humphreville of Planned Parenthood, and others
For status: Not available
Indiana lawmakers approve first state abortion ban since Roe was overturned
Indiana Supreme Court allows near-total abortion ban
U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional right to abortion
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