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Groups react as judge blocks enforcement of Indiana’s near-total abortion ban

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An abortion-rights activist was happy about a judge’s suspension of Indiana’s new abortion law.

“We see this injunction as a victory,” said Rebecca Gibron, the interim chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. “We know this is not the end of the fight.”

A special judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction, temporarily stopping enforcement of the Indiana’s near-total abortion ban.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said he plans to appeal the decision on the preliminary injunction.

Indiana’s Legislature became the first in the nation to approve abortion restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the ban into law Aug. 5. The law took effect Sept. 15.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has sued to block the near-total abortion ban.

The ACLU says the Indiana Constitution includes a right to privacy and to make decisions on whether to have children. But, the judge wrote in her ruling, whether a right to privacy exists in the Indiana Constitution is an open question.

“We feel strongly that the Indiana Constitution does project a privacy right, which safeguards these types of intimate and important procreative decisions,” said Ken Falk, the legal director of the ACLU of Indiana.

Jody Madeira, a professor of law at Indiana University, said, “However, the court found also that the plaintiff’s argument that, for example, the de-licensing of abortion clinics violated the constitution, was not likely to succeed, and so they’re going forward on the privacy claim alone.”

Planned Parenthood in Indiana says it has resumed abortion care services. Gibron said Indiana’s near-total abortion ban has negatively affected women in the state. “People who live in Indiana had to travel great distances to access an abortion and in some cases there were probably people who did not get the abortion that they needed because of those barriers to access care.”

Indiana Right to Life’s leader says the organization does not agree with the suspension. Mike Fichter, president and chief executive officer of Indiana Right to Life, said, “Very disappointing, very saddening news today. It means abortion clinics will just continue to do business as usual in the state of Indiana and it means that 161 unborn babies will die from abortion every single week in the state of Indiana.

“We are confident the state will prevail. We’re hopeful that this injunction will be brief, but the fact remains that every single day now that goes by with this law being blocked is the day when lives are going to be lost in our state and that’s the real tragedy here,” Fichter said.