Indiana's 2022 law protecting most unborn lives from abortion, which has been under a preliminary injunction since Sept. 22 last year, was declared constitutional by the Indiana Supreme Court June 30.
While the preliminary injunction is lifted, it is still uncertain when the law will go into effect as it remains under a preliminary injunction for another suit making its way through the Indiana appellate courts, according to thehill.com.
"The Church applauds all efforts of the state, including its courts, to safeguard the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception to natural death," said Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis in response to the decision. "Let us not waver in our care for both mother and child, both persons and families."
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita released a statement after the ruling stating, "The Indiana Supreme Court has just upheld the abortion laws passed by the Indiana General Assembly. We celebrate this day -- one long in coming, but morally justified. Thank you to all the warriors who have fought for this day that upholds LIFE."
Right to Life Indianapolis president Marc Tuttle also weighed in on the ruling, calling it a "big victory."
"This is a big victory in the fight to protect the life of unborn babies, and to protect pregnant mothers from the often lifelong trauma of abortion," Tuttle said in a released statement. "This case is also a victory in that Indiana was the first state to pass pro-life legislation since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (in June 2022), making it clear there was never a right to abortion established in the U.S. Constitution.
"Now the work ahead is to ensure that we, as loving and compassionate Hoosiers, provide the support that pregnant mothers and their babies need to thrive and succeed."
After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling June 24, 2022, overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, Indiana became the first state to initiate a special session of its General Assembly to reassess the state's abortion law in place at the time.
The result was Senate Bill 1. It became Senate Enrolled Act 1, or SEA 1, when it was signed into law Aug. 6, 2022. The new law limited abortion up to 10 weeks gestation in instances of rape or incest, up to 20 weeks gestation in cases of lethal fetal anomalies, or when the mother's life is in danger from specific medical issues. It also required that abortions take place at a hospital or a hospital-owned surgery center.
The law, which greatly increased the legal protection afforded to unborn children in the state, went into effect Sept. 15, 2022.
Just seven days later, a preliminary injunction was placed on the law in a legal challenge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that claimed the law violated the Indiana Constitution. The injunction put back into place Indiana's abortion law as it stood prior to Sept. 15, which allowed abortion up to 22 weeks gestation, including at independent abortion centers.
The Indiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case Jan. 19, taking about five months before declaring SEA 1 to be constitutional.
Meanwhile, a second suit was filed against the SEA 1 last fall, this time a class-action lawsuit based on the grounds of restriction of religious freedom. A Marion County judge ruled in December 2022 in favor of the plaintiffs -- a group of anonymous women and the Hoosier Jews For Choice organization -- and placed a second preliminary injunction on SEA 1.
Rokita appealed the case to the Indiana Supreme Court, which in January denied hearing the case. It is now working its way through Indiana's appellate court system, with its preliminary injunction still in effect.