WilmerHale Represents Planned Parenthood at Trial in Challenge to Indiana Abortion Ban

WilmerHale Represents Planned Parenthood at Trial in Challenge to Indiana Abortion Ban

Client News

On Wednesday, May 29 through Friday, May 31, WilmerHale represented Plaintiffs in a three-day bench trial before Owen County Special Judge Kelsey Hanlon on a challenge to Indiana’s near-total abortion ban. That ban, S.B. 1, was enjoined for over a year after the providers filed and won a preliminary injunction against the ban in its entirety in September 2022. The Indiana Supreme Court reversed that decision in August 2023, finding that the Indiana Constitution provides a right to an abortion only to protect the pregnant person from death or a serious health risk.

Last week’s trial revolved around a subsequent legal challenge, in which Plaintiffs argue that the ban’s current exceptions are not broad enough to protect the state constitutional right to an abortion. Plaintiffs also allege that the law, which limits abortions to hospitals and revoked licensure of Indiana abortion clinics, materially burdens that right. At the bench trial, the WilmerHale team and co-counsel argued that Indiana women are being turned away from necessary abortion care and that the law, as written, will cause Indiana women to die. The State argued that the law, which incorporates a “reasonable medical judgment” standard, is clear to physicians, as evidenced by the fact that no one has been prosecuted under it. Judge Hanlon took the case under advisement and asked the parties to submit findings of fact and conclusions of law within 60 days.

The WilmerHale team includes Lori Martin, Ally Slater, Katherine Mackey, Mikayla Foster, Erica Puccetti, Kim Crowley, Chris Hamilton, Molly Dillaway, Nitisha Baronia, Annie Himes, Hilary Greene and Lillie Shobe with excellent trial support from Jim Donnelly and our ringer brief-writer Jocelyn Keider.


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