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Rokita: No right to abortion, privacy in state constitution

Attorney General Todd Rokita talks May 10, 2022, with News 8. (WISH Photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana’s attorney general argues there is no specific right to abortion or privacy in the state’s constitution.

The argument is part of a 40-page response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Indiana in Monroe County that seeks to block enforcement of Indiana’s new near-total ban on abortion.

The state wants a judge to deny a preliminary injunction and allow the law to remain in effect.

“The constitutional text nowhere mentions abortion as a protected right, and Indiana history demonstrates abortion was regarded as criminal— not a cherished core value,” Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office wrote in its legal response.

The ACLU of Indiana argues the abortion ban, passed by a special session of the General Assembly in August, violates state constitutional protections for the rights to privacy and equal privileges.

“The plaintiffs (collectively, Planned Parenthood) urge the judiciary to recognize a novel, unwritten, historically unsupported right to abortion under Article 1, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution,” the attorney general’s office argues. “Planned Parenthood does not cite any history that supposedly demonstrates the existence of a right to privacy or abortion either.”

Indiana’s new law bans abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies, and the life and health of the mother.

Special Judge Kelsey Hanlon declined to block the law last week, but will hear arguments from the two sides Monday afternoon in Bloomington.

A second lawsuit from the ACLU of Indiana, filed in Marion County, argues the abortion ban violates the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

A hearing in that lawsuit is set for October.