INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Opponents of Indiana’s ban on abortions filed a lawsuit Thursday arguing that it would violate the state’s religious freedom law that Republicans enacted seven years ago.
The lawsuit follows another one filed last week also challenging the abortion ban that’s scheduled to take effect September 15. The Republican-dominated Legislature approved the new ban last month.
The lawsuit filed in Marion County court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of several anonymous residents and the group Hoosier Jews for Choice argues that the ban would violate their religious rights on when they believe abortion is acceptable.
Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director, said in a statement that the religious-freedom law protects “all Hoosiers, not just those who practice Christianity.”
“The ban on abortion will substantially burden the exercise of religion by many Hoosiers who, under the new law, would be prevented from obtaining abortions, in conflict with their sincere religious beliefs,” Falk said.
Indiana’s religious freedom law sparked a national backlash after it was signed by then-governor Mike Pence in 2015 as opponents criticized it as allowing discrimination against gay people.
The state attorney general’s office and Republican legislative leaders didn’t immediately comment Thursday on the new lawsuit.
Indiana abortion clinic operators argued in a lawsuit filed last week that the abortion ban would violate the state constitution’s protections for privacy and equal privileges. No court rulings have been issued in that lawsuit.