AG Hill: Federal Court Ruling Upholding Multiple Abortion Laws A Win For Indiana

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 9:13am

By Office of Attorney General Curtis Hill, news release

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana upheld many statutes and regulations last week.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Attorney General Curtis Hill today applauded a federal court ruling that upheld against a due process challenge many critical abortion laws enacted by the Indiana General Assembly.

Last week, in response to a lawsuit filed by abortion provider Whole Woman’s Health challenging Indiana’s most significant abortion regulations, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana upheld many statutes and regulations under the Due Process Clause. The laws the judge upheld include those:

  • requiring abortion clinics to be licensed;
  • requiring abortion providers to report abortions;
  • requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals (or to have a back-up physician who does);
  • requiring women seeking abortion to have an ultrasound;
  • requiring abortion providers to make some mandatory disclosures to women as part of the abortion informed-consent process, and;
  • requiring women seeking abortion to wait 18 hours after an informed-consent consultation before having the abortion.

The judge also upheld under the Due Process Clause restrictions on the dosage and administration of the abortion drug mifepristone, as well as specifications for abortion clinic facilities. And finally, the judge affirmed under the Due Process Clause Indiana’s law requiring parental consent or a judicial bypass order before a minor can have an abortion.

“This ruling represents an important victory in Indiana’s efforts to defend life and promote the health of women seeking abortions,” Attorney General Hill said. “Our legislature has enacted common-sense abortion regulations that courts have long deemed constitutional, and this ruling affirms its prerogative to do so as a matter of constitutional due-process rights.”

A bench trial regarding the plaintiffs’ surviving due process and equal protection claims begins March 15, 2021. In addition to equal protection claims against the above-mentioned statutes, the plaintiffs are challenging Indiana laws that require, among other things:

  • that abortions be conducted by physicians;
  • that second-trimester abortions be conducted in hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers;
  • that women seeking abortions have an in-person examination and in-person informed-consent counseling before undergoing the abortion;
  • that women seeking abortions be told that human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm, that a fetus can feel pain from abortion, and that abortion entails both physical and mental health risks for the mother.

“We will continue to defend Indiana’s common-sense abortion laws from the meritless, self-interested attacks of abortion providers,” Attorney General Hill said.

The order is attached.

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