INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said Wednesday that his office will not appeal a June 28 ruling that blocked the state’s latest abortion law from going into effect.
The law, which banned the dilation and evacuation procedure, a type of abortion performed in the second trimester of a pregnancy, was enacted by the General Assembly in the 2019 session and signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Senior U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker had ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it interfered with a woman’s right to an abortion. She found that the ban on D&E abortions “imposes an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s right to decide to have an abortion,” and limits a doctor’s ability to fully judge what the patient needs.
In a news release, Hill said that his office will focus on making its case that the ban on the D&E procedure is constitutional as the issue proceeds to a summary judgment or trial in the federal court.
Hill noted that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in an Alabama case where a federal appellate court held that a ban on D&E abortions is unconstitutional. Five other states—Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio—have similar cases pending.
“I remain committed to protecting the value and dignity of fetal life by defending Indiana’s law banning this brutal and inhumane procedure,” Hill said. “At this juncture, I believe our best path forward in this case is to proceed to summary judgment as we continue to gather evidence and formulate strategy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana had sued on behalf of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, one of two doctors in the state who has performed the relatively rare procedure. Bernard had said that the law, House Enrolled Act 1211, made it impossible for her to do her job.
The attorney general’s office has lost a string of abortion cases in the federal courts, which has resulted in the state paying legal fees to the ACLU of Indiana. The state’s Legislative Services Agency has reported that Indiana has paid out about $290,000 in legal fees to plaintiffs and their lawyers.
Brandon Barger is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.