Abortion Advocates Challenge Indiana Abortion Ban, Claim Killing Babies is Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court was once withdrawn Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, Indiana became the first state to pass a protective law. Senate Bill 1, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb in August 2022, only allows abortions in cases of rape or incest, when there is a serious risk to the life of the mother or when there are fatal anomalies in the fetus. In addition, abortions must be performed in hospitals.

Pro-abortionists attacked SB 1 on two fronts. The first attack was by the ACLU of Indiana which argued that the law was unconstitutional on its face. However, on June 30, 2023, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the law 4-1.

According to Casey Smith, writing for Indiana Capitol Chronicle,

” … we hold that Article 1, Section 1 (of the Indiana Constitution) protects a woman’s right to an abortion necessary to protect her life or to protect her from a serious health hazard, but the General Assembly otherwise preserves broad statutory discretion for determining whether and to what extent to prohibit abortion,” Justice Derek Molter wrote in the decision.

The latest development in the second attack was heard yesterday by a three-judge panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals. “Five unidentified Hoosiers holding various religious beliefs and the group Hoosier Jews for Choice sued for access to abortion,” arguing that the state’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” exempts those people who do not believe that life begins at conception from the state’s abortion ban,” Binghui Huang wrote for Indianapolis star.

Last year, Marion County Judge Heather Welch ruled that “the ban likely violates RFRA. Judge Heather Welch’s narrow order provides a temporary religious exemption from the state’s abortion ban,” Smith reported. The state unsuccessfully tried to appeal the order directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

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According to Huang, the appeals court panel was filled with difficult questions on both sides.

“You have a Christian belief system that is different from a Jewish belief system that is different than a Muslim belief system,” [Judge Leanna K.] Weissmann said. “So how can the state mandate a policy that forces a compelling interest based on a Christian belief system?”

James Barta, solicitor general at the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, answered that

Previous legal decisions have established that the state has the right to protect life at conception, regardless of religion. He added that lawmakers have to weigh different interests when passing abortion laws, but argued that any other exceptions should be decided by lawmakers.

“Those exceptions reflect that the legislature recognizes that there are certain ethical and moral requirements when you have a pregnancy that is the product of rape or incest,” he said.

ACLU of Indiana representative Ken Falk, its legal director, was asked about “the burden of the abortion ban on the rights of the people he represents.”

“None of them are currently pregnant. None of them seek abortions. Where does the heavy burden come in?” Judge Weissmann asked.

Falk responded that “the ban has changed their behaviors and lives. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs say they have been forced to abandon plans to have children or have an active sex life because of fear of the dangerous or otherwise preferred pregnancy.

It is unclear when Judge Lloyd Mark Bailey, Judge Melissa S. May, and Judge Weissmann will issue a decision.

LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared on National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.

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