Today, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, All-Options, Inc., and Dr. Amy Caldwell filed a lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 1, signed into law last month by Gov. Eric Holcomb. The bill was the first new abortion ban passed by a state legislature following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and without judicial relief, will effectively eliminate abortion access in the state on September 15, 2022 for more than 1.5 million people of reproductive age in Indiana.
Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal constitutional right to abortion, Indiana lawmakers convened for a special session to outlaw and eliminate abortion access in the state — rushing Senate Bill 1 to passage in two weeks. The law bans abortion, with criminal penalties for providers who violate the law, and includes only extraordinarily narrow exceptions that will allow patients to access abortion in only the very rarest circumstances. For those able to meet the extraordinarily narrow exceptions included in the bill, they will be forced to obtain abortion care at a hospital, as S.B.1 also writes abortion clinics out of the health code.
The lawsuit argues the abortion ban violates both the Indiana Constitution’s right to privacy and equal privileges protections.
Quotes from attorneys and plaintiffs:
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Today, we are asking that the court does what Indiana lawmakers didn’t — protect Hoosiers’ constitutional rights. Unless this ban is blocked, patients seeking abortion will be unable to access timely and potentially life-saving care in their own communities. The abortion ban that the legislature rushed through during a special session — nearly immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — is both dangerous and incredibly cruel. We demand more for patients and providers, and we will continue fighting for everyone’s right to make their own decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures.”
Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky:
“The health and wellbeing of Hoosiers depends on safe, legal access to abortion care. This ban is dangerous and cruel. It will directly harm the people of Indiana and send ripple effects through our entire health care system, disproportionately harming our communities of color due to centuries of systemically racist policies— increasing the maternal mortality rate for Black women by as much as 33 percent and 21 percent across the board. The decision to have an abortion should be made only between a pregnant person and their health care provider, and never by politicians without medical knowledge or expertise. Every person deserves the right to access basic care. We will never stop fighting for a person’s ability to control their own life and future.”
Ken Falk, Legal Director, ACLU of Indiana:
“From its very inception, the Indiana Constitution has protected the right to privacy. Implicit in this right, is the right for a woman to make medical decisions regarding her own reproductive health. This ban on abortion will force Hoosiers to carry pregnancies against their will, leading to life-altering consequences and serious health risks. Deeply private, personal, and unique decisions about reproductive health should be made by women in consultation with their doctors. Whether Indiana elected officials personally agree with abortion access or not, it is not up to the government to make these decisions for Hoosiers.”
Amy Hagstrom Miller, President & CEO, Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance:
“We told you we were going to keep fighting to ensure Hoosiers have abortion access in their own communities, and we meant it! We’re proud to join this lawsuit today to try to put a stop to Indiana’s near-total abortion ban. The heartless and hateful politicians behind this ban have made clear how little they care about the majority of Hoosiers who support abortion rights. Those very people who look to us for hope, comfort, and high-quality care every day - we will never turn our backs on them. Abortion is still legal in Indiana and we're doing everything in our power to keep Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend open and give this essential medical care to all who need it.”
Parker Dockray, Executive Director of All-Options:
"Hoosiers deserve to make the pregnancy and parenting decisions that are right for them, without judgment or restriction. Banning abortion is wrong and will do the most harm to communities that are already struggling, leading to even more poverty and worse health outcomes in Indiana. All-Options will keep showing up every day to support Hoosiers, and we hope that the court will intervene to stop this unjust law."
Rupali Sharma, Senior Counsel and Director at the Lawyering Project:
“Abortion bans are designed to dehumanize people by chipping away at their dignity, disregarding their health and well-being, and telling them that the future they are creating for themselves and their families is less important than a politician’s agenda. Indiana’s abortion ban is no different. It will force Hoosiers to travel out of state for abortion care at great, sometimes life-long costs to their physical, psychological, and financial health. Those who are unable to do so may be forced to remain pregnant against their will, something that is and should remain unacceptable to us as human beings regardless of the Supreme Court’s recent decision. This ban must be stopped.”
Martin Haskell, MD, Medical Director at Women’s Med:
“Women’s Med has provided personalized, high-quality abortion care to Hoosiers for over twenty years. Unlike Indiana politicians, our physicians are dedicated to the welfare of our patients, meeting them where they are with compassion and respect. Without a court order, we will no longer be able to provide this essential care to our patients. That is simply unacceptable.”
The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Lawyering Project, the ACLU of Indiana, and WilmerHale on behalf of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, Women’s Med Group Professional Corp, All-Options, Inc, and Dr. Amy Caldwell.