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Law "Singling Out" Indiana Abortion Clinic Ruled Unconstitutional

PHOTO: A federal judge has ruled an Indiana abortion law unconstitutional, saying it unfairly treats abortion clinics differently from physician's offices, even if they prescribe the same medications. Photo credit: M. Connors/morguefile.
PHOTO: A federal judge has ruled an Indiana abortion law unconstitutional, saying it unfairly treats abortion clinics differently from physician's offices, even if they prescribe the same medications. Photo credit: M. Connors/morguefile.
December 5, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - Supporters of women's reproductive rights call it a victory, but the Indiana Attorney General's Office says it is reviewing a federal judge's ruling that an abortion law is unconstitutional.

The law would have required abortion facilities that offer only nonsurgical abortions to meet the same licensing standards as surgical abortion facilities, said Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, adding that it essentially targeted a clinic in Lafayette.

"The law was unconstitutional," she said, "because it singled out what in effect was one facility in the entire state of Indiana and exempts physician's offices."

The judge ruled that it violated equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Even with the judge's ruling, the case isn't over. A final judgment has not been issued, and a trial is set for June. Cockrum said the judge directed the parties involved to come to closure before then, and that she's hopeful it will be dismissed. Meanwhile, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General said in a statement that more court proceedings are likely.

Cockrum said the ruling comes on the heels of court victories affirming reproductive justice in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. She said medically unnecessary abortion laws are designed to chip away at a woman's right to make personal health-care decisions.

"They're trying to erect barriers to Indiana women's access to safe, legal abortion," she said, "They don't spend their time and energy helping reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy because that's what drives abortion."

To reduce abortion rates, Cockrum said, what's needed is better education to help young people make informed choices on sexual activity and its consequences.

Information on the law is online at in.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN