Costs pile up for abortion ban

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A newly-released fiscal study of the state’s near-total abortion ban shows Indiana will need to spend almost $44 million in fiscal year 2023 to cover additional costs related to births and lawsuits.

Those costs increase each year after.

The analysis — obtained first by CBS4 in Indianapolis — was done by the State Budget Agency and shows various costs that weren’t initially available when lawmakers passed the law during an August special session.

For instance, it estimates a cost of $2.75 million over three years for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General to defend against lawsuits.

In the first year, the cost to the state and federal government to cover births on Medicaid is estimated to be about $19.9 million. The federal government pays the bulk of that, but the state general fund portion is about $6 million in the first year.

Additionally, some of those children will be covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program after they are born — a total cost of $22.9 million for fiscal year 2023. About $7.6 million of that would fall on the state general fund.

Those expenses are separate from additional services and supports the Legislature passed in another piece of legislation costing the state about $75 million. That includes repealing the diaper tax, increasing the adoption tax credit and other changes.

The abortion ban is currently on hold after a special judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking its enforcement. The Indiana Supreme Court has stepped in to take over the case and scheduled a Jan. 19 oral argument. The case is based on privacy and liberty rights in the Indiana Constitution.

A second case is also pending challenging the ban on religious freedom grounds. 

The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.

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