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Judge considering blocking Indiana abortion law

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On Monday, abortion rights groups urged an Indiana judge to block the state's recent ban on most abortions reports Reuters.

Kenneth Falk, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana, told Judge Kelsey Hanlon that the ban violated rights to privacy and liberty that Falk said were guaranteed by Indiana’s constitution. "The most devastating harm here ... is the loss of personal autonomy," Falk said.

The ban was approved by the Indiana legislature in August and signed by Governor Eric Holcomb. The ban, which has limited exceptions, made Indiana the first state to enact tighter abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The ban took effect last Thursday, reports WTHR.

The lawsuit seeking to block the ban was brought by the ACLU on behalf of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, and other groups.

The ACLU sued under Indiana’s 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which restricts government action that interferes with a person’s religious exercise.

“Indiana’s RFRA law protects religious freedom for all Hoosiers, not just those who practice Christianity,” Falk said in a statement when the suit was announced. “The ban on abortion will substantially burden the exercise of religion by many Hoosiers who, under the new law, would be prevented from obtaining abortions, in conflict with their sincere religious beliefs.”

Falk asked the judge to restore Indiana’s previous abortion laws, which prohibited most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and greatly restricted abortions after the 13th week, reports ABC7.

Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher argued that "unborn children will literally die" without the new law, and stated that the legislature has the ability to limit actions that may harm others. “Abortion was never understood to be a right secured to the people either in common law or under the constitution,” Fisher said.

Fisher also made the argument that the ACLU’s privacy argument was too broad.

“The point is, the right that the plaintiffs are demanding have no limits,” Fisher told the court. “Today it's abortion, tomorrow it's something else. And regardless of what one thinks about abortion, the question is, 'Is there anything that’s not protected by the point the plaintiffs are claiming?' They talk about the right to privacy, but that’s not mentioned in the Constitution and has no meaningful boundaries or meaningful content.”

After hearing arguments, the judge decided not to make an immediate decision but said she would make a decision “expeditiously.”

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