Judge blocks Indiana abortion ban during Planned Parenthood challenge.


Sept 22 (Reuters) – An Indiana judge on Thursday blocked the state from enforcing its new law banning most abortions while Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers challenge it in court.

Circuit Court Judge Kelsey Hanlon ruled that Planned Parenthood and the other providers had shown a “reasonable likelihood” that the law’s “significant restriction of personal autonomy” violates the Indiana constitution.

“We are grateful that the court granted much needed relief for patients, clients, and providers, but this fight is far from over,” Planned Parenthood and other organizations in the lawsuit, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said in a statement.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a statement that his office would appeal and “remains determined to fight for the lives of the unborn.”

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Indiana was the first state to pass a new law banning abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the right to the procedure it had recognized in its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, though other Republican-led states quickly began enforcing older bans.

In Idaho, abortion providers can be charged with a felony and face two to five years in prison. However, a federal judge on Wednesday sided with the Biden administration and barred Idaho from enforcing the ban to the extent it conflicted with federal law requiring doctors to intervene in emergency medical situations, meaning those doctors could not be charged.

In Oklahoma, where abortion was already banned with few exceptions, a law taking effect on Thursday makes providing an abortion a felony punishable with up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

OVERALL TALLY OF BANS

By week’s end, 11 states will likely be enforcing near-total abortion bans at all stages of pregnancy: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

PATCHWORK OF ABORTION ACCESS

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An uneven and tenuous patchwork of abortion access remains elsewhere in the country. Even where abortion is still legal, courts have tightened restrictions and Republican lawmakers have pushed to further limit abortion rights.

A trigger ban was due to take effect in North Dakota on Friday, but a state court late on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction preventing its enactment and enforcement until a lawsuit filed by abortion rights advocates challenging the law is adjudicated.

The law would make it a felony to provide abortions except in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency.

In Wisconsin, abortion providers have ceased services because they are unsure whether the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban can be enforced, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy research group.

In South Carolina, abortion currently is legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy after the state Supreme Court on Aug. 17 temporarily blocked a ban on abortions after six weeks.

A federal judge in North Carolina on Aug. 17 ruled the state could enforce a law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except for medical emergencies that endanger the mother’s life.

Abortion is legal in Indiana up to 22 weeks. But starting on Sept. 15, it is set to be banned except in medical emergencies, or rape and incest cases prior to 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter; additional reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio.

REUTER.