Abortion hearing

Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher speaks to reporters outside the Indiana Superior Court in Indianapolis on Jan. 19.

Indiana Supreme Court Justices will decide the future of Indiana’s near-total abortion ban after hearing oral arguments over the constitutionality of the new law on Thursday.

Attorneys for abortion care providers maintained that the ban will “severely” injure women and girls, while lawyers for the state doubled down on their position that abortion access is not enshrined in the Indiana Constitution.

Solicitor General Thomas Fisher with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office said the injunction will lead to the deaths of “so many” unborn fetuses.

Ken Falk with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana pushed back, saying the abortion ban amounts to government infringement into private lives.

The five justices grilled both sides, largely questioning the attorneys about their interpretations of the rights guaranteed to Hoosiers in the state constitution.

The state’s highest court granted a request by Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita to bypass the Indiana Court of Appeals. The court also denied the state’s request to stay the preliminary injunction that is currently blocking the abortion law.

The court challenge up for debate was originally filed in Monroe County Circuit Court in August by the ACLU of Indiana on behalf of health care providers and a pregnancy resource center.

A special judge in Owen County later ruled that the ban likely violates the Indiana Constitution. An injunction issued by Judge Kelsey Blake Hanlon, a Republican, halted the state’s new abortion law one week after it took effect. Under the injunction, the state’s previous abortion law stands — allowing abortions up to 20 weeks.

The state quickly appealed that decision and asked the Indiana Supreme Court to bypass the Court of Appeals and take the case directly.

It’s not clear when the justices will make their ruling. Chief Justice Loretta Rush said an opinion will be issued “in due course.”

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