Indiana appeals 2nd court’s decision to block abortion ban

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A second legal challenge that has blocked Indiana’s abortion ban from being enforced could also be headed to the state Supreme Court.

The Indiana attorney general’s office asked the state’s highest court to review a county judge’s Dec. 2 ruling The abortion ban adopted in August by the Republican-dominated Legislature violates the state’s 2015 religious freedom law signed by GOP then-Gov. Mike Pence.

Friday’s court filing by the office stated that the Supreme Court should assume control of the case. This would bypass the traditional intermediate step at the state appeals court. The court has already done that with another judge’s ruling issued in September that the ban violates the Indiana Constitution’s protections protection of individual rights. The court is set to hear arguments in that case On Jan.

The latest filing from Republican state Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office said only that the Indiana Supreme Court can provide a final answer on the “gravely important question of whether Indiana’s statutory protection of religious exercise” restricts the Legislature’s authority to limit abortions.

“Requiring the parties to go through the normal appeals process would only delay final resolution of issues likely headed to this Court anyway,” the attorney general office’s filing said.

Judge Heather Welch of Marion County sided Dec. 2 with five residents, who were members of Jewish, Muslim, and spiritual faiths. They argued that the ban would violate religious rights by allowing abortion to be legalized in their area.

“The undisputed evidence establishes that the Plaintiffs do not share the State’s belief that life begins at fertilization or that abortion constitutes the intentional taking of a human life,” Welch wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Filled the lawsuit did not immediately reply to a request for comment Tuesday on the attorney general office’s action.

Following the GOP-backed religious freedom bill, Indiana faced widespread backlash and threats to boycott businesses.

Indiana was the first state to enact stricter abortion restrictions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in Roe v. Wade. The exceptions to the state ban allow abortions in cases such as rape or incest before 10 weeks after fertilization; to protect the mother’s life; and if the fetus has been diagnosed with a fatal anomaly.

Court orders allowed abortions to continue as per Indiana laws that prohibit abortions after the 20th weeks of pregnancy. They also tightly restricted abortion after the 13th.

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