Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
AP

Indiana abortion clinics see patients amid legal changes

  • Updated
  • 0

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Dr. Jeanne Corwin traveled about two hours on Friday from her hometown of Cincinnati to an Indianapolis abortion clinic, where she saw the clinic's first 12 patients the day after an Indiana judge blocked the state's abortion ban from being enforced.

It's a trip Corwin has made several times over the past few months, as her Ohio medical license allows her to sign off on required paperwork for Women's Med patients in Indiana to access care in the clinic's sister location in Dayton.

But with Indiana's abortion ban temporarily on hold — paired with a judge's Sept. 14 blocking of an Ohio ban on nearly all abortions — Women's Med and other Indiana abortion clinics resumed seeing patients on Friday while anticipating further change amid mercurial abortion access in the country following the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“It’s a glimmer of hope and common sense,” Corwin said of Thursday’s ruling blocking Indiana’s abortion ban.

One patient who went to the clinic on Friday was an Indianapolis woman who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity due to privacy concerns. It was for the 31-year-old’s second abortion, she said. Her first was at 16, when she was afraid of caring for a child and worried what her parents would think about her being pregnant.

“At the time, I felt like I was too young to have a child,” the patient said. “I can’t even imagine what life would be like now.”

Now focused on a career and with a son she had at 25, the patient said she chose an abortion because she and her partner decided another child would not be best for them right now.

Hours after Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction against Indiana’s abortion ban, the state filed a promised appeal and motion asking the state’s high court to take up the case.

Under Indiana’s ban, which has exceptions, abortion clinics would have lost their licenses and been prohibited from providing any abortion care, leaving such services solely to hospitals or outpatient surgical centers owned by hospitals.

The ban also only permits abortions in cases of rape and incest before 10-weeks post-fertilization; to protect the life and physical health of the patient; or if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly.

With Indiana's law on hold, bans on abortion at any point in pregnancy are in place in 12 Republican-led states. In Wisconsin, clinics have stopped providing abortions amid litigation over whether an 1849 ban is in effect. Georgia bans abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected. And Florida and Utah have bans that kick in after 15 and 18 weeks gestation, respectively. In Arizona, a judge ruled Friday that the state's near-total ban on abortions could be enforced.

The Indiana state attorney general’s office had asked Hanlon to uphold the state’s ban, saying arguments against it are based on a “novel, unwritten, historically unsupported right to abortion” in the state constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which is representing the abortion clinics, filed the lawsuit Aug. 31 and argued the ban would “prohibit the overwhelming majority of abortions in Indiana and, as such, will have a devastating and irreparable impact on the plaintiffs and, more importantly, their patients and clients.”

Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director, said Friday that the plaintiffs now have 15 days to file their response to the state’s request for the stay. He said he did not expect any immediate hearings on the matter.

Mike Fichter, president and CEO Indiana Right to Life, said in a statement that the organization is “encouraged by the judge’s acknowledgement of the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn babies” and “hopeful the blockage will be brief.”

While such legal conflicts play out in the background, Women's Med will provide abortions while it can, most likely starting next week, said Dr. Katie McHugh, an abortion provider at the clinic.

The patients that came through the clinic's doors Friday signed state-required consent forms ahead of their second appointment, which is when the abortion will take place. Indiana has an 18-hour waiting period on abortions, while Ohio’s is 24 hours.

A short-staffed Indiana clinic will also continue sending Indiana patients to Ohio for the procedure until Women's Med is back to normal numbers. Clinic staff has traveled between the two states to keep each clinic afloat when the other was closed, McHugh said.

“The last three months since the Dobbs decision have been so out of normal that we've had to, you know, make do with the time and the staff and the resources that we had,” McHugh said. “We're trying to get our footing again.”

Elsewhere in Indiana, Amy Hagstrom Miller — president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health — said that the South Bend abortion clinic is trying to "piece together adequate staff in order to see patients again.”

Jody Madeira, professor in the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, said the judge’s interpretation of the Indiana Constitution’s article on liberty is encouraging for abortion-rights groups, who say liberty rights include bodily autonomy.

“This is quite a different argument than one might expect from a Republican judge, who tend to read the text of the Constitution narrowly,” said Madeira, who anticipates the Indiana Supreme Court will ultimately decide on the ban’s legality.

There are separate licensing procedures for abortion clinics and hospitals, another burden that proposes “legitimate and reasonable rationale for ending" the clinic's licenses, the judge's order states.

The question of whether the state constitution protects abortion rights is undecided. A state appeals court ruled in 2004 that privacy is a core value under the state constitution that extends to all residents, including women seeking an abortion.

But the Indiana Supreme Court later upheld a law requiring an 18-hour waiting period before a woman could get an abortion, though it didn’t decide whether the state constitution included the right to privacy or abortion.

“You can have the right," Madeira said. “But not the access or the infrastructure.”


Arleigh Rodgers is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Arleigh Rodgers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arleighrodgers

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

0 Comments
* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

The U.S. outbreak seems to have peaked in August. But experts worry there's a growing blind spot about how the virus may be spreading among men with sexual contact. They say it may never be eliminated.

Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter who became a pillar of country music, has died. Lynn's family said she died Tuesday at her home in Tennessee. She was 90. Her compositions reflected her pride in her humble background and spoke frankly of her experiences as a woman and mother in Appalachia on such hits as “Coal Miner’s Daughter," “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “The Pill.” Her bestselling 1976 autobiography was made into a movie, with Sissy Spacek winning an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn. Lynn wrote unfiltered songs about sex and love, cheating husbands, divorce and birth control that sometimes got her in trouble with radio programmers.

This year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to Swedish scientist Svante Paabo for his discoveries on human evolution. Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Committee, announced the winner Monday at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The medicine prize kicked off a week of Nobel Prize announcements. It continues Tuesday with the physics prize, with chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award on Oct. 10.

A former Tennessee state trooper has gone missing after he was sentenced for a misdemeanor assault conviction on a charge that he pulled the face mask off a protester during the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020. Columbia Police said Monday that 54-year-old Harvey Briggs was last seen in the city on Oct. 1, the day after receiving a six-month probation sentence, and was driving a black 2015 Ford Fusion. He pleaded no contest in the case on Sept. 15. Police say, Briggs made “several concerning statements” to his family before he left, and that they haven’t heard from him since. Briggs' attorney decline to comment Tuesday.

When then-Gov. Paul LePage endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, LePage credited himself as a prototype for the insurgent candidate. Now, with LePage running for a third term after a brief retirement to Florida, he rarely talks about Trump in campaign events and media interviews, and LePage's advisers say his hiatus from politics changed him. LePage's efforts at distancing himself from Trump are particularly notable because LePage once invited comparisons to Trump — and made them himself. LePage is seeking to unseat Democratic Gov. Janet Mills in November and become the longest-serving governor in Maine's history.

About two-thirds of U.S. states have adopted some sort of tax relief this year. The tax-cut trend has been fueled by record state surpluses and large growth in state revenues after an initial downturn during the coronavirus pandemic. Missouri became the latest state to act, when Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed an income tax cut into law Wednesday. Republican-led states have been more apt to approve permanent tax rate reductions. Many Democratic states, meanwhile, have opted for one-time tax rebates. A bipartisan collection of states also have suspended gas taxes or cut sales taxes on groceries.

An outspoken Christian conservative attorney from Alabama wants a federal appeals court to revive a Louisiana pastor's damage claims against state officials over long-expired COVID-19 restrictions. A federal judge has twice dismissed Tony Spell's lawsuit against Gov. John Bel Edwards and others over enforcement of the ban. Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court justice and Senate candidate, insisted in arguments this week that the state had no authority whatsoever to restrict church gatherings. Appeals court judges appeared skeptical of that claim in arguments this week. But they raised the question of whether Spell's church was unfairly restricted when compared with other public gathering places.

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert