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What does the temporary halt of Indiana’s near-total abortion ban mean for Michiana?

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Whole Woman's Health Alliance
Whole Woman's Health in South Bend is Michiana's only abortion clinic.

Indiana’s near-total abortion ban has been temporarily halted after Monroe County judge Kelsey Hanlon ruled it likely violates the Indiana Constitution, and that has implications for Michiana residents seeking abortion services.

Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend — Michiana’s only abortion clinic — is one of the parties in the suit to block the ban on constitutional grounds.

The clinic announced last week that it is staying open to provide abortion-related care such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, contraception, counseling and follow-up care. There’s also the abortion wayfinder program, which will help people find, schedule and pay for out-of-state abortion services.

With the Thursday court decision, Whole Woman’s Health says it can’t resume abortion care immediately but is making plans to resume providing it in the near future.

Dr. Heidi Beidinger is the president of the St. Joseph County Board of Health, a professor of public health at the University of Notre Dame and the Democratic candidate for District 5 in the Indiana House of Representatives

She says all the legal back-and-forth isn’t helping Hoosiers.

“I am very concerned about this flip-flopping business,” Burnett said. “One moment I have access, one moment I don’t have access. How do they get real-time information, so they know how to make decisions about their own body?”

She says she’s relieved the temporary stay is in place, because the ban was rushed through the legislature and is not what Hoosiers want.

“It should be noted that this is also a Republican judge.” Beidinger said. “She felt as though our constitution guarantees liberty and bodily autonomy.”

But she also says the fight is not over. As an example, she pointed to her Republican opponent — current state representative Dale Devon.

“He said there should be no exceptions, that rape and incest should not be allowed,” Beidinger said.

In an Aug. 8 interview with WNDU, Devon said close family members were upset with the way he voted.

“You know, because it’s taking the right away from the mother at some degree, I guess, but what about the right of the child?” Devon said. “And that’s who I’m fighting for.”

The state is certain to appeal the decision and will likely ask for its impact to be halted while the appeal is ongoing, meaning the abortion ban might take effect again soon.

In an emailed press release, Right to Life Michiana spokesperson Antonio Marchi said the organization is “disappointed” with the stay.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.