In August 2022, the Indiana state legislature passed a ban on nearly all abortions, making the Hoosier State the first state to adopt new legislation banning abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating decision to abolish the federal constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit in September 2022 challenging the ban on behalf of five anonymous Jewish, Muslim, and spiritual plaintiffs and the group Hoosier Jews for Choice. These plaintiffs’ religious beliefs support and even mandate in certain circumstances abortions that are prohibited by Indiana’s abortion ban. They argue that the abortion ban therefore violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
On December 2, 2022, an Indiana state trial court granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, prohibiting enforcement against them of the abortion ban while the litigation continues. The state government appealed this injunction to the Indiana Court of Appeals in January 2023. On March 1, 2023, Americans United filed an amicus brief joined by fourteen religious and civil-rights organizations that argues that the injunction should remain in place. Our brief explains that the abortion ban violates a clause of Indiana’s state constitution that prohibits the state from favoring any religious creed over another, as the legislation enacts into law particular religious beliefs on when life begins and when abortion should be allowed.
The Indiana Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the appeal on December 6, 2023.