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Planned Parenthood, ACLU Challenge Indiana Ultrasound Law

Pro-choice advocates are challenging part of a new Indiana law that requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. (Veronica Carter)
Pro-choice advocates are challenging part of a new Indiana law that requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. (Veronica Carter)
July 8, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS - One week after a federal judge put new abortion restrictions passed by the Indiana Legislature on hold in another case, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Indiana have gone to court to challenge part of House Enrolled Act 1337, which requires women to have an ultrasound 18 hours before getting an abortion.

The two groups on Thursday filed a request for declaratory and injunctive relief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

"Because of the Supreme Court ruling last week, the door opened for us to seek further review," said Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, "and so, we filed for repeal of the requirement that an ultrasound be done 18 hours in advance of the abortion procedure."

Last month, a federal judge blocked HEA 1337, which also would ban abortions based on fetal abnormalities. Cockrum was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court's June 27 decision striking down a Texas law. The court said requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges and facility specifications for clinics placed an undue burden on women seeking to end a pregnancy.

Anti-abortion advocates have said they're worried about patient health, but Cockrum said there's more to it than that.

"So, all these smokescreens, all these efforts that legislators, members of Congress, whomever, try to get on the books, are simply barriers," she said. "They add no value, they do nothing to enhance patient safety - and, in fact, they add stress and, in some cases, delays."

Indiana already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, and Gov. Mike Pence has called HEA 1337 a "comprehensive pro-life measure."

The text of the bill is online at iga.in.gov.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN