Abortion in Indiana

On August 21, 2023, a new law took effect in Indiana that bans abortion with very limited exceptions. This state law, one of the most restrictive in the country, essentially eliminates legal abortion access across the state. Those seeking abortions now must leave Indiana and travel out of state, qualify for a rare exception that allows care in Indiana, or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

When the Ban Took Effect

Indiana’s abortion ban went into effect on August 21, 2023. This is the date the law, passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor earlier in 2023, was scheduled to take effect statewide. The law immediately banned abortion procedures in clinics and hospitals across Indiana on this date, with few exceptions.

What the Ban Means

Concretely, Indiana’s abortion ban makes it illegal for any clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital to provide abortion services, regardless of how early the pregnancy is. The only abortions legally allowed in the state now are those that fall under specific exceptions written into the abortion ban law. Anyone who performs or assists with illegal abortions under the new law could face felony criminal charges.

Essentially, the ban takes away legal abortion access that has existed in Indiana for decades prior to the new law. Pregnant people now have to find ways to leave the state if they want to terminate a pregnancy but do not meet exceptional circumstances that would allow in-state care.

Limited Exceptions

There are only four narrow exceptions that allow abortion care to still be provided legally in Indiana:

  • To save the pregnant person’s life
  • To prevent serious risk to the pregnant person’s physical health
  • If the fetus is not expected to survive the pregnancy
  • If the pregnancy is a result of rape and/or incest

These exceptions are purposefully strict and limited. They mainly exist to allow abortion only if the pregnant person would otherwise face grave physical health outcomes from continuing the pregnancy. Rape and incest exceptions add additional specific circumstances where in-state abortion is legal under the ban.

Getting an Abortion in Indiana

For those who meet the narrow exceptions, or minors utilizing a judicial bypass, it remains possible to get an abortion legally within Indiana. However, these scenarios will be extremely rare given the nature of the current ban.

Meeting the Exceptions

To get a legal abortion in Indiana under the new laws, you must have circumstances that clearly meet one of the four established exceptions. For instance, you would need written statements from one or more physicians showing that continuation of the pregnancy poses a significant threat of “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

Simply put, these exceptions set an extremely high bar that most pregnant people will not meet. Those who believe they may qualify should consult with a knowledgeable attorney for guidance, in addition to their regular healthcare providers.

Judicial Bypass for Minors

Minors have one additional option that could potentially allow access to legal abortion in Indiana. This option is called a “judicial bypass.”

See also  Abortion in Hawaii

The judicial bypass process involves petitioning a judge to waive parental consent requirements for an abortion. Judges have the authority to rule that a minor is sufficiently mature to decide on an abortion independently. While still an uphill legal battle, this bypass offers one path to in-state abortion for minors under the state’s abortion ban.

Traveling Out of State

The majority of pregnant Hoosiers seeking abortions will now have to travel out of state in order to access abortion care legally. This involves finding and scheduling appointments with providers in other states where abortion remains legal.

Finding an Out-of-State Provider

The first step for Indiana residents is identifying an appropriate abortion provider in a nearby state where abortion is legal. Excellent online resources for this include the National Abortion Federation (NAF) directory and If/When/How’s Judicial Bypass Wiki. The NAF directory allows you to search for licensed providers near your location who offer abortion services.

Once potential out-of-state providers are identified, the next step is calling them to schedule consultations and abortion appointments. It is important to call as soon as possible, as many providers book up in advance. Wait times for appointments continue increasing in states bordering Indiana due to influxes of patients traveling from states with bans.

Scheduling Appointments

When scheduling the initial consultation and abortion appointments, make sure to ask the provider if there are any specific rules or restrictions to obtain care as an out-of-state patient. For instance, some states require waiting periods between the initial consult and the abortion itself, parental notification for minors, or limiting factors related to the gestation period of the pregnancy. The provider should explain all relevant regulations in their location.

It is also essential to inquire about costs, insurance coverage, and financial assistance available. Abortions, travel arrangements like flights and hotels, taking time off work – these expenses add up quickly. Providers often work with nonprofits that have abortion funds set up to help subsidize various costs for low-income patients traveling from other states.

States with Waiting Periods

Laws in some states mandate waiting periods of 24 to 72 hours between an initial consultation appointment and the abortion itself. For instance, Ohio requires 24 hours between the first appointment and the abortion. That means you must plan for at least two days of travel – one day for the consultation, another day for the actual abortion at least 24 hours later. This two-visit requirement contributes to expenses since it means paying for hotels, transportation, and time off work for two separate trips. Make sure to research and account for potential waiting periods when booking appointments to avoid legal issues.

Parental Consent Laws

If you are younger than 18, traveling out of state for an abortion introduces further considerations. Many states require minors to get permission from a parent or legal guardian prior to obtaining an abortion. Some states allow alternatives like seeking a judicial bypass of that requirement from a judge, comparable to the process in Indiana. Others strictly mandate parental involvement. Be sure to check consent laws and understand your rights as a minor in whichever state you travel to.

Finding Assistance

Fortunately, resources exist to help fund and facilitate travel for Indiana residents seeking out-of-state abortions. Nonprofit organizations provide assistance with covering the costs of procedures, transportation, lodging, child care, and more.

Assistance for Costs

For help funding the actual abortion and related expenses, the National Network of Abortion Funds maintains a directory of groups providing direct financial assistance. Examples serving Indiana residents include the Kentucky Health Justice Network, the Allegheny Reproductive Health Fund, and the Idaho Abortion Fund.

See also  Abortion in Maryland

These nonprofits help subsidize abortion costs as well as associated expenses like travel, lodging, food and more. Their services are essential given the high price tag of traveling across multiple states for care. The average patient needing this type of travel assistance requires approximately $800 to $1200 in aid.

Assistance for Travel

Travel necessities like transportation, hotels, and child care also carry a hefty price tag. To assist with these logistics, the Midwest Access Coalition provides practical support services focused on travel and lodging. Their volunteer base helps coordinate rides to clinics, lodging in volunteers’ homes, care for pets or children at home, and general travel logistics for Indiana residents journeying to abortion providers in other states.

Assistance for Other Needs

For wider assistance with getting out-of-state abortion care, the If/When/How Helpline provides customized referrals and information on legal rights and resources. Callers speak with trained advocates who then connect them to vetted organizations suited to the specifics of their situation. That includes referrals to trusted clinics, financial help, practical support around travel, and education regarding relevant laws in other states. While not aid providers themselves, they effectively match Indiana residents to the full spectrum of reproductive health and justice groups serving the region.

Indiana Abortion Laws

Below find a quick reference summarizing key components of Indiana’s abortion ban and the associated exceptions that remain.

Total Ban Overview

Exceptions Overview

  • To save pregnant person’s life
  • To prevent serious physical health risks
  • If fetus has condition incompatible with life
  • Rape and incest exceptions
  • Judicial bypass option for minors

In essence, Indiana has instituted one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country, joining states like Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and others with near-total abortion restrictions. The practical impact prohibits the vast majority of Indiana residents from accessing wanted pregnancy terminations without traveling long distances out of state for care. Those with resources and circumstances that allow out-of-state travel retain options; those lacking the means face grave challenges. Understanding the specifics of the Hoosier state’s brutal abortion laws remains vital for pregnant people navigating this new reality.


Indiana’s sweeping abortion ban leaves pregnant Hoosiers with few options except traveling across multiple state lines for essential care. The legislation enacted makes Indiana one of the most restrictive states for abortion access in the US. Those seeking abortions now must qualify for special in-state exceptions, utilize judicial bypass, or take on immense burdens to reach out-of-state providers. Various nonprofit groups work to fund and facilitate that interstate travel through assistance with expenses, transportation, lodging and more. Still, Indiana’s crushing abortion restrictions constructed countless barriers sure to exact severe consequences. This regressive turn eliminates a core human right to reproductive healthcare that had been established law in Indiana for decades prior.


When exactly did Indiana’s abortion ban go into effect?

Indiana’s abortion ban went into effect August 21, 2023, completely prohibiting the procedure statewide after that date except for narrow exceptions.

What are the exceptions that allow abortions in Indiana under the ban?

There are four exceptions: to save the pregnant person’s life, to prevent severe health risks, if the fetus will not survive to term, and in cases of rape or incest.

Can minors still seek judicial bypass to get abortions in Indiana?

Yes, minors can petition judges for judicial bypass to get parental consent requirements for abortion waived in the state, though barriers remain high under the abortion ban.

What should I do if I need an abortion but do not qualify under Indiana’s exceptions?

If you do not meet the exceptions, you would need to travel out of state to receive legal abortion care. Resources are available to help assist with finding and funding this out-of-state travel.

Who can I contact if I need help funding costs and travel for an abortion outside Indiana?

Excellent resources include the National Network of Abortion Funds, the Midwest Access Coalition, the Kentucky Health Justice Network, and the If/When/How Helpline.

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