Rokita goes directly to Indiana Supreme Court to try to overturn pause of abortion law

The Indiana attorney general is attempting to skip a step in the appellate process and take the question of whether the state’s new abortion law is constitutional straight to the Indiana Supreme Court.

In a notice of appeal filed Friday, the state’s top lawyer is seeking a judicial review of the Monroe Circuit Court ruling in Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Inc., et al. v. Members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana et al. The ruling blocked Senate Bill 1, which Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law earlier this year, from being enforced.

That decision, issued Thursday, granted a preliminary injunction on the basis that the near-total abortion ban violated rights enshrined in the Indiana Constitution.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is requesting the Supreme Court accept jurisdiction rather than first going before the Court of Appeals of Indiana.

With the Monroe Circuit order, Indiana’s previous abortion law is in effect. Clinics are resuming abortion care services since women can now obtain the procedure up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Jennifer Drobac, professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, said shortcutting the appeals process will not provide a full airing of the constitutional question.

“To go directly to the Supreme Court of Indiana, really, is to shortcut the process that our judiciary was set up to promote,” Drobac said. “And that is the opportunity for intelligent people to weigh in from a variety of different perspectives so that the highest and last considering court can have all voices, or as many as possible, weigh in on the controversy.”

James Bopp Jr., general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, declined to comment on the attorney general’s strategy.

“I’ll let him decide how to litigate the case,” Bopp said. “I’m sure he’ll do it as effectively and as expeditiously as they can because lives are going to be taken.”

In its motion for preliminary injunction, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana had argued the new law infringed on a woman’s right to privacy. The attorney general countered by asserting neither the text nor history of the Indiana Constitution supported the plaintiffs’ stance.

Special Judge Kelsey Hanlon has been seen as taking a broad view. She found the new restrictions violated the Indiana Constitution’s guarantee of the right to liberty.

“Regardless of whether the right is framed as a privacy right, a right to bodily autonomy, a right of self-determination, a bundle of liberty rights, or by some other appellation, there is a reasonable likelihood that decisions about family planning, including decisions about whether to carry a pregnancy to term—are included [in] Article I, Section 1’s protections,” Hanlon wrote.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

18 thoughts on “Rokita goes directly to Indiana Supreme Court to try to overturn pause of abortion law

    1. You ought to be happy that Indiana has a pro-life AG, Sam C….but I wouldn’t expect anyone posting such an ugly opinion as you did to have that much decency or common sense.

  1. Isn’t Rokita forgetting the law doesn’t have an enforcement provision, how long does this shred go on? Dr.s Lawyer’s can’t read? JC quit with stance taking, just admit the truth. In fact send me a link tell me I’m wrong, please. . . dtfree1@att.net

    1. Go to Gilead, Bob P, where you can lead the entire country. Under His Eye. The abortion ban will never stand in the United States of America.

      How old are you, Bob, if I may ask?

  2. With all due respect, if the US Supreme Court believes the issue of reproductive freedom and the right to privacy should be be decided by the people of Indiana let’s have a referendum by the citizens now. Put it to a vote to be decided by the people.

  3. Republicans opposed putting the subject to a referendum vote because that would bring people to the polls they do not want to listen to . So that leaves the referendum substitute to be voting against all Republicans just to get their attention on the will of the electorate . Women are fully capable of making their own healthcare decisions without Republican interference or condemnation .

  4. As we get closer to Election Day, the data indicates Republicans are losing women voters in massive numbers (confirming that what happened in Kansas will not be an outlier). Rigid, religious-oriented lawmaking – and the politicians who make and support those laws – be rejected at the polls.

    1. Considering how badly the polls missed on previous elections in Indiana, think I’ll wait until the day after Election Day to see how things actually shake out.

      It’s going to take things like Huston (the person who uttered the line “vote us out if you don’t like it”) getting voted out to change the minds of legislators. Remember how quickly they “fixed” property tax issues when voters decided property tax issues were Bart Peterson’s fault?

      But I am not holding my breath that will happen. Huston just finished picking his voters in the most recent redistricting. For him to lose would he unfathomable. I mean, look how gerrymandered it is.

      https://ballotpedia.org/Indiana_House_of_Representatives_District_37

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}