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Religious freedom challenge to Indiana abortion ban not going directly to state Supreme Court

An empty Indiana Supreme Court chamber. Pictured are the five justices seats at a long desk on a raised platform, with a red curtain behind them.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
The Indiana Supreme Court denied a request from the Indiana attorney general to hear a direct appeal of a trial court ruling in a lawsuit challenging the state's near-total abortion ban.

A lawsuit challenging Indiana’s near-total abortion ban on religious freedom grounds will go through the normal appeals process and not directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

A Marion County judge ruled in December that the 2022 abortion law likely violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office appealed that ruling directly to the state Supreme Court.

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

The court Monday denied the attorney general’s direct appeal request in the case, without explanation. That means the lawsuit will now go through the normal appeals process, heading first to the Court of Appeals.

This case is separate from a lawsuit that challenged the abortion ban on state constitutional grounds. That suit did go directly to the Supreme Court, which is currently considering a ruling.

The ban currently remains temporarily blocked in both lawsuits.

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

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.