Protesters gather inside the Indiana State House as the Indiana state legislature began a special session to consider banning abortion on July 25, 2022. The state abortion ban took effect Thursday, but two lawsuits have been filed to block it. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1c3744f3a48d6cb9a8342b5cd27e3bc1/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Protesters gather inside the Indiana State House as the Indiana state legislature began a special session to consider banning abortion on July 25, 2022. The state abortion ban took effect Thursday, but two lawsuits have been filed to block it. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 15 (UPI) — Indiana’s near-total ban on abortion took effect Thursday. It bars most abortions at zero weeks of life, with exceptions for rape or incest up to 10 weeks after fertilization, to save the mother’s life and for a lethal fetal anomaly.

The new abortion law also terminates the licensure of abortion clinics, so there would be no existing licensed abortion providers for Indiana women to turn to if they are among the abortion exceptions in the law.

The law would require physicians to perform abortions carried out under the exceptions in hospitals to certify in writing that any terminated pregnancies are specifically for those reasons.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the Indiana law in court.

The suit, filed Sept. 8 on behalf of Hoosier Jews For Choice, alleges the law violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. The law, passed in 2015, bars the government from action that interferes with a person’s religious exercise.

Not all religions share the belief that life begins at conception.

“Indiana’s RFRA law protects religious freedom for all Hoosiers, not just those who practice Christianity,” Indiana ACLU Legal Director Ken Falk said in a statement. “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.”

A separate lawsuit filed by ACLU of Indiana, Planned Parenthood and others claims the Indiana abortion ban violates the state constitution’s right to privacy and equal privileges protections.

A hearing on that suit is set for Monday.

According to the new law, a medical provider who performs an abortion violating it could be sentenced to up to six years in prison and $10,000 fine.

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