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Indiana abortion ban goes into effect despite ongoing lawsuits

(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana’s abortion ban went into effect Thursday.

The ban will limit access to more than 1.5 million people of reproductive age in Indiana, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

Indiana was the first state to pass an abortion ban since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, removing federal protections for abortion rights.

This comes as a lawsuit filed by abortion providers challenge the legality of the law under the state’s constitution. The plaintiffs have asked the court to grant a preliminary injunction, temporarily keeping the ban from going into effect while litigation continues. A hearing for the injunction is scheduled for Sept. 19.

The lawsuit claims the abortion ban infringes on residents’ right to privacy, violating Indiana’s guarantee of equal privileges and immunities and violates the Constitution’s due course of law clause because of its unconstitutionally vague language.

The Indiana lawsuit filed against members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana and county prosecutors, was filed by Planned Parenthood, the Lawyering Project, the ACLU of Indiana and WilmerHale on behalf of abortion providers including Planned Parenthood, Women’s Med Group Professional Corp and All-Options.

While the lawsuit was filed on Aug. 31, two judges recused themselves from presiding over the case and a third judge only agreed to take up the case on Friday. The first two judges did not reveal why they recused themselves.

Plaintiffs had filed a request for a hold on the abortion ban since Aug. 31.

A second lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Indiana on behalf of Hoosier Jews for Choice and five women claims the abortion ban violates their religious freedom by limiting their ability to get an abortion under circumstances prohibited by the ban.

Indiana’s ban makes it a felony to provide abortion services and only allows for limited exceptions. It replaces a previous 22-week abortion ban with a near-total ban on abortion.

Abortions up to certain stages in pregnancy are permitted if the woman’s life is in danger, the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal anomaly or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest, according to the lawsuit.

Providers who violate the ban will have their license revoked and could face between one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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