Another judge blocks Indiana’s abortion ban

Reuters reports that a second judge has now blocked the government of Indiana from enforcing its abortion ban. 

Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch did so on Friday.

Indiana’s abortion ban

This situation goes back to the summer when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark case Roe v. Wade, the case in which the court, back in the 1970s, discovered that the U.S. Constitution contains a right for a woman to have an abortion.

In overturning Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court did not ban abortions, as the Democrats would have Americans believe. But, what the justice did do is return the controversial abortion issue to the people and their state legislators.

Indiana responded by becoming the first new state to pass a law banning abortion. Other states enforced older anti-abortion laws. But, Indiana actually passed a new anti-abortion law.

This Indiana law bans abortions, except in the cases of rape, incest, lethal fetal abnormalities, or when the pregnancy poses a serious health risk to the mother.

Since then, the law has faced multiple legal challenges.

The lawsuits

There have been two major lawsuits so far that have challenged Indiana’s abortion ban. And, both are having success.

In the first lawsuit, Indiana abortion clinic operators argued that the Indiana law violates the state constitution, and Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon agreed. Accordingly, Hanlon blocked the law’s implementation while its legality continues to be litigated.

In the meantime, another lawsuit was brought by a group of Jewish, Muslim, and other non-Christian women. This is the lawsuit referred to at the top of this article. These individuals argued that Indiana’s abortion ban infringes on their state-law-based religious freedoms, found in Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Welch, this week, agreed, writing: “The Court finds that S.E.A. 1 substantially burdens the religious exercise of the Plaintiffs.”

Now, Welch has become the second judge to block the implementation of the law while its legality is being litigated.

Looking forward

It appears that a serious legal battle is underway over Indiana’s abortion ban. The first case is now set to be heard by Indiana’s Supreme Court, while it remains to be seen what the next step is in the second case.

The question is whether either of these cases will ultimately make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The answer is unclear, and it might not matter. Given the justice’s ruling over the summer, the justices will probably say that this is a state law issue and, therefore, a matter for state courts. We’ll see.