Indiana lawmakers narrowly guaranteed a few ‘exceptions’ in the state’s sweeping abortion ban that went into effect August 1. The problem: too often these kinds of exceptions don’t matter in practice. 

Mounting evidence from across the country reveals similar legal exceptions in other states leave pregnant people unprotected and vulnerable. And this is despite ‘exceptions’ they were guaranteed under state law. 

Fatal Fetal Anomaly

An Alabama woman’s fetus faced a ‘negligible’ chance of survival after being diagnosed with multiple severe birth defects. Her doctor believed she was eligible for an abortion, but the hospital board disagreed. They argued each individual birth defect did not justify an abortion, even though their combined impact almost guaranteed the fetus would not survive. 

Indiana’s exception for lethal fetal anomalies is similarly poorly defined, and leaves much up to the doctor’s discretion. But doctors are forced to walk a thin line – provide the care they think is appropriate or face the threat of medical license removal, hefty fines, or even jail time.