INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana attorney general’s office said Tuesday that it chose not to appeal a judge’s order blocking a state law that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities because the ruling is temporary while the case moves forward.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued the state in April over the law, saying it’s unconstitutional and violates women’s privacy rights. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted the groups’ request for a preliminary injunction to block the law from taking effect July 1, ruling on June 30 that the state does not have the authority to limit a woman’s reasons for ending a pregnancy.
The Indiana attorney general’s office had 30 days to appeal the preliminary order. Spokesman Bryan Corbin said Tuesday that the office determined that Indiana had no need to appeal while the overall lawsuit continues.
“After reviewing the case with our clients and discussing the case procedurally with the plaintiffs, the State has no need to pursue an interlocutory appeal at this point since all the State’s legal rights are preserved,” Corbin said in a statement. “Instead, the case will proceed on the merits to the final judgment stage.”
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If Pratt eventually makes her injunction permanent, he added, Indiana “would likely appeal that.”
Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said the groups that sued plan to request summary judgment in the case and ask Pratt for a permanent order.
“It will basically be the same argument we made before because the facts have not changed at all,” he said.
Falk said the groups will file several briefs in the coming months in support of those requests. Those briefs and the state’s legal responses will extend into the fall and possibly early 2017, he said.
That timeline would likely mean Indiana’s next governor and attorney general would decide whether to appeal any final ruling.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, a Republican, decided not to seek re-election after losing a congressional bid in the May primary.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence dropped his re-election bid last month to become Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate. He was replaced on the ballot by GOP Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will face Democratic John Gregg, a former Indiana House speaker, in the November election.
Pence signed the fetal abnormalities abortion law in March after Indiana’s GOP-dominated Legislature approved it despite objections from many female legislators, including Republicans, who said it went too far.
North Dakota is the only other state that prohibits abortions because of genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome or because of the race, gender or ancestry of a fetus.
The lawsuit from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU also challenges a provision in Indiana’s law requiring that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated. Planned Parenthood disposes of remains by incineration, as with other medical tissue. Pratt’s preliminary injunction also blocked the burial or cremation requirement from taking effect.