Indiana Court of Appeals upholds abortion ban injunction News
Janni Rye, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Indiana Court of Appeals upholds abortion ban injunction

On Thursday, the Indiana Court of Appeals largely affirmed an injunction the trial court had placed on the state’s near-total abortion ban. The vote was unanimous.

The Court of Appeals ruling will send the lawsuit back to the trial court to narrow the effect of the trial court injunction. The Court of Appeals stated that the injunction, as written by the trial court, had the potential to enjoin activity not covered by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and thus needed to be narrowed.

Religious groups, such as Hoosier Jews for Choice, claimed the near-total abortion ban infringed on their religious freedom as protected by the RFRA. The suit was filed by the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in defense of religious liberty. The ACLU stated:

For many Hoosiers, the ability to obtain an abortion is necessary based on a sincerely held religious belief. The burden placed on these individuals by Indiana’s abortion ban is absolute and life-altering. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is clear that it protects religious freedom for all Hoosiers, and the Court of Appeals’ decision today reflects that clear directive.

The religious freedom in question comes from mainly Jewish and Muslim citizens of Indiana. For some in those faiths, there is a commonly held belief that life begins at birth rather than conception. Moreover, the life, health, and well-being of the mother take priority over that of the fetus according to the strictures of both religions. Because of this, some Jewish and Muslim interest groups have initiated litigation against abortion laws around the country.

In a press release, Indiana Right to Life, an interest group dedicated to advancing abortion control and abolition, stated:

Today’s court ruling is wrongly decided. The Indiana Supreme Court has already ruled the state has a compelling interest in protecting unborn life, and Indiana’s new abortion-restriction law is doing that by reducing Indiana abortions to the lowest level in five decades. We are confident Indiana will prevail against any claims that abortion — the intentional ending of an innocent and helpless human life — is a religious freedom.

It is expected that this judgment will be appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.