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Indiana appeals court set for hearing in religious freedom lawsuit against abortion ban

The northwestern exterior of the Indiana Statehouse, at dusk.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
The final outcome of a lawsuit challenging Indiana's near-total abortion ban on religious freedom grounds won't come until at least 2024, if not beyond.

Whether Indiana’s near-total abortion ban violates some people’s religious freedom will be under the microscope in the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.

A group of anonymous women and the organization Hoosier Jews For Choice sued the state in September 2022, arguing the abortion ban infringes on their religious beliefs.

A Marion County judge agreed, ruling the ban likely violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The state tried to appeal that ruling directly to the Indiana Supreme Court, which denied the direct appeal.

Instead, the case will go through the normal appeals process. And its next step is this week’s hearing before a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals.

READ MORE: Judge temporarily blocks Indiana abortion ban on religious freedom grounds

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However that panel eventually rules, the case will almost certainly be appealed to the state Supreme Court — meaning a final outcome in this legal challenge to the abortion ban is many months away.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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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.