Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Near-Total Abortion Ban

Jun 30, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that the state’s near-total abortion ban does not violate Indiana’s constitution, thus vacating a lower court’s preliminary injunction allowing the law to take effect. SB 1, enacted in September 2022, prohibits abortion at any stage of gestation except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies or when the woman’s life is at risk.

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and the Frederick Douglass Foundation that holds there is no right to abortion within the Indiana Constitution and defends the state’s pro-life law that limits the killing of innocent unborn children. In the brief Liberty Counsel states, “Abortion has a dark eugenic foundation that violates key protections of the Indiana Constitution, and the State of Indiana is right to take measures to limit it as much as possible. As members of or ministers to the African American and Hispanic communities, Amici have a strong interest in exposing the racist and eugenic history of the abortion movement.” 

In Members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, et al., v. Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Inc., et al., the ACLU sued on behalf of Planned Parenthood abortionists against the ban. Four out of the five Justices concurred that the state has “broad legislative discretion” to enact pro-life laws, with one Justice dissenting only in part.

In the majority opinion, Justice Derek Molter stated, “…our laws have long reflected that Hoosiers, through their elected representatives, may collectively conclude that legal protections inherent in personhood commence before birth, so the State’s broad authority to protect the public’s health, welfare, and safety extends to protecting prenatal life.” 

“Legal protections inherent in personhood commence before birth. And the State points to biological markers consistent with this conclusion—including fetal brain development, a heartbeat, and breathing—which lead the State to emphasize that “unborn children, being human beings, have all the characteristics of a human being,” and many of those characteristics are “acquired in the earliest stages of pregnancy,” wrote Judge Molter. 

Indiana’s High Court clearly conveyed it is “undisputed” that protecting unborn life falls within the state’s purview.

“Our precedents have long recognized that protecting prenatal life is an appropriate exercise of the police power…[SB 1] generally permits the General Assembly to prohibit abortions which are unnecessary to protect a woman’s life or health, so long as the legislation complies with the constitutional limits that apply to all legislation, such as those limiting legislation to a proper exercise of the police power and providing privileges and immunities equally. Because the State can enforce Senate Bill 1 within those constitutional parameters, Plaintiffs have failed to show a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their facial challenge. We thus vacate the preliminary injunction,” the Court concluded. 

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This is tremendous win for life. Every person, whether unborn or born, has a constitutional right to life. Planned Parenthood makes huge profits from ending the lives of innocent children and harming their mothers. Liberty Counsel is proud to stand with Indiana, on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Frederick Douglass Foundation, to finally end the dark, racist, eugenic history of abortion. The womb is on its way to being a safe place once again.” 

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