The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state's abortion ban does not violate the state constitution -- removing a major hurdle for enforcement of the ban Republicans approved last summer in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The court's decision does not put the ban immediately into effect, but it does invalidate a county judge's ruling that the law likely violated the state constitution's privacy protections, which she said are stronger than those found in the U.S. Constitution.
That judge's order has allowed abortions to continue in Indiana since September.
Marc Tuttle, president, Right to Life of Indianapolis, calls the state Supreme Court's decision a "big victory in the fight to protect the life of unborn babies and to protect pregnant mothers from the often lifelong trauma of abortion."
He and Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter point out that Indiana was the first state of many to pass pro-life legislation after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, making it clear there was never a right to abortion established in the U.S. Constitution.
"Indiana is a light among states now," says Fichter. "[This] ruling sends a message to the rest of the nation that when we stand together with love and compassion in protecting unborn babies and supporting pregnant mothers, we save lives, improve lives, and support a national culture that values life."
"Indiana's unborn babies are the victors," he asserts.
"We are very grateful," Melanie Garcia Lyon of Voices for Life tells AFN. "The constitution is pretty clear that all Hoosiers, born and unborn, have the right to life."
Noting that the U.S. Supreme Court had already dealt with the right to privacy argument, she sees these lawsuits for what they are: "Stall tactics by the Indiana abortion industry so they can make as much money off of women in crisis before the ban went into place."
There was also an injunction in a second lawsuit against the ban that argued the abortion law violated Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Lyon says there is still a lack of clarity on that.
"Talking with our legal team, we believe that this injunction only applies to the plaintiffs that filed that case, and it did get class certification," the pro-lifer details. "So, the abortion ban is in effect; it just does not apply to the plaintiffs who filed in that second case."
Meanwhile, the abortion pill can easily be obtained online, and it remains easy for women to cross state lines to get an abortion procedure. So even with these positive rulings, the pro-lifers agree that the battle for life continues.
"The work ahead is to ensure that we, as loving and compassionate Hoosiers, provide the support that pregnant mothers and their babies need to thrive and succeed," says Tuttle.
"This is a battle of hearts and minds; it is a culture war," Lyon submits. "I think pro-lifers are needed more than ever to get involved. We need to get down to the business of changing hearts and minds and making sure that women have the support that they need in order to choose life."
That, she says, is something that Voices for Life is recommitted to doing.