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Abortions to resume in Indiana following judge's ruling

Planned Parenthood, which operates multiple clinics across the state, says they're prepared to resume abortions as early as Sept. 22.

INDIANAPOLIS — "It really is a day of victory for all people in Indiana," said Dr. Katie McHugh, an OB-GYN and abortion provider in Indiana.

After a special judge granted the ACLU's request for a preliminary injunction on Indiana's new abortion ban law, the ruling Thursday will allow elective abortions to resume legally in the Hoosier state.

Planned Parenthood, which operates multiple clinics across the state, says they're prepared to resume abortions as early as Sept. 22. They sent this statement following the ruling:

In recent months, Indiana has become an important regional hub to provide abortion care to patients in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and beyond. As so many nearby states have banned abortion, we have seen an influx in out of state patients coming to Indiana for care. This makes today’s preliminary injunction even more important – every day that we can provide abortion care, is a day that the people of Indiana have control over their bodies and their future. This is a win for the entire state.

Others will resume operations more gradually, getting everything back up and running over the next few days. Already, schedules are filling up fast with appointments.

RELATED: Judge grants injunction blocking enforcement of Indiana's new abortion ban law

Soon after the ruling, McHugh said she felt a sense of relief and hope in seeing abortion access returned to women across the state.

"I just feel like I can breathe more easily knowing that I'm a full citizen of this state and that my patients will be able to get the healthcare that they so deserve," McHugh said. "As soon as the news broke this morning, our phones started ringing, we started making appointments."

McHugh, who had been planning on moving her practice out of state after Indiana banned abortions said her plans for that are on hold as she waits to see if the courts side with pro-choice advocates who say SB1 went too far in restricting women's rights to end a pregnancy.

When it comes to resuming abortion care, McHugh said most clinics in Indiana will do so gradually.

"It's a little bit of an easing back in, but it's quick," she said. "So tomorrow, we'll be able to start doing consents again and doing the ultrasounds and bloodwork that is necessary to make sure that abortion is a safe choice for the patient. And then, we'll start doing procedural abortions again on Monday."

RELATED: Lawmakers, doctors concerned crisis pregnancy centers will expand under Indiana's abortion ban

But the week since Indiana's abortion ban restrictions went into place on Sept. 15, McHugh said, left a deep impact on many.

"You may be thinking that it was just a week, but that was hundreds of people who thought they were either going to need to leave the state to get medical care, who did leave the state to get medical care or who were forced to continue a pregnancy that they did not want to continue or was unsafe for them. This is going to cause long-term suffering," McHugh said.

With temporary relief now in place, McHugh said she and other providers are watching and waiting to see if the courts will permanently restore abortion care across the Hoosier State.

"It really does give me hope for the future in Indiana and it gives me hope that perhaps some parts of the Indiana governing bodies are listening to the will of the people," McHugh said.

Dr. Caroline Rouse, an assistant professor at IU School of Medicine, called the injunction a relief for some.

“I think first and foremost, relief for their patients. I think also some relief for themselves. It’s difficult to have to go to a whole different system in order to get medical training that is by it’s very nature, part of your specialty,” Rouse said. 

Rouse said she was already anticipating next steps.

"We know this injunction is not going to last forever, but we're going to continue advocating for what we know is right," she said.

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