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Indiana abortion clinics take new aim at broadening exceptions in abortion ban

The exterior of the Zietlow Justice Center in Bloomington, Indiana.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
An amended pleading and request for preliminary injunction by the ACLU of Indiana, filed in Monroe County Court, asks for the courts to expand one of the exceptions in Indiana's near-total abortion ban.

Indiana’s former abortion care providers are taking new aim at the state’s near-total abortion ban following their loss at the state Supreme Court earlier this year.

The revised lawsuit seeks to broaden the ban’s exceptions.

In June, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution does guarantee the right to abortion, but only if a pregnant person’s life or serious health is at risk.

The ACLU of Indiana, on behalf of abortion clinics, argues under that ruling, the exception in state law that allows abortions “to prevent death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function” is too narrow.

The law that took effect earlier this year also completely banned abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood from providing abortion care, even under the narrow exceptions. That’s left a few hospitals in the Indianapolis area as the only places in Indiana where abortion care is accessible.

The ACLU’s latest motion asks the courts to expand the definition of “serious health risk” in the law, for instance to include mental health conditions. It also asks the courts to allow abortion clinics to provide abortion care under the ban’s exceptions.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him 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.