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Judge reinstates state law largely banning second trimester abortion procedure

The image shows the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in downtown Indianapolis.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to end guaranteed abortion rights, a federal judge undid her order that had blocked a 2019 Indiana anti-abortion law.

The most common second-trimester abortion procedure is now largely banned in Indiana.

A federal judge undid her order that had blocked a 2019 state law.

Dilation and evacuation, or D&E, abortions are the most common procedure used to terminate a pregnancy in the second trimester. They’re also widely considered the safest.

In 2019, Indiana lawmakers, in HEA 1211, banned the procedure unless there’s a serious health risk to the pregnant person.

The ACLU of Indiana, on behalf of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who performs such procedures, sued. It argued the law violated rights guaranteed by the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker agreed, halting the measure before it took effect.

But a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court overturned Roe. And Attorney General Todd Rokita filed motions to reverse several court decisions that had halted Indiana anti-abortion laws.

In this case, Bernard and the ACLU didn't oppose Rokita's motion. And Barker ruled in Rokita’s favor Thursday, putting the D&E abortion ban into effect.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.