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Judge Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions In Indiana

Judge Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions In Indiana

 Abortion - dictionary definition highlighted - stock photo The term Abortion - dictionary definition highlighted with yellow marker stockcam via Getty Images

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Indiana ruled against several laws restricting abortion in the state, while upholding others as constitutional, continuing a legal battle over how far states can go to limit abortion.

The judge ruled that several abortion restrictions are unconstitutional, including a ban on telemedicine with regard to medication abortion, the requirement that a patient be examined in person before receiving medication abortion, and the requirement that provision of second-trimester abortions be restricted to hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. The judge also found that certain facility requirements for clinics looking to perform abortions were unconstitutional.In addition, several laws were found to be constitutional, including the ultrasound requirement, “which requires an abortion provider to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion and to show the ultrasound image to the patient.” Some mandatory disclosures, certain requirements, and the Parental Consent Law, which typically requires that minors get parental consent or a judicial waiver in order to go through with an abortion, were also found to be constitutional.

As reported by the Associated Press, the judge also ruled against “Indiana’s mandated disclosure related to the beginning of life provides that, ‘human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.’”

The plaintiffs also objected to the requirement that patients must be told by abortion providers that “objective scientific information shows that a fetus can feel pain at or before twenty (20) weeks of postfertilization age.” The judge held that this disclosure, as well as “the mental health risks of abortion contained in the [state’s] Perinatal Hospice Brochure” were unconstitutional.The judge wrote, “We further hold that the Mandatory Disclosures regarding fetal pain, the beginning of life, and the mental health risks of abortion contained in the Perinatal Hospice Brochure violate Casey’s truthful and non-misleading standard and thus are unconstitutional…”

Other disclosures were found to be constitutional, however, including the physical health risks of abortion contained in the Perinatal Hospice Brochure, as well as “the disclosures regarding the disposal of fetal tissue.”

As National Review pointed out, most of the judge’s decisions were made based on the testimony of several medical personnel or people who had personal experiences with abortion.

According to the Indy Star, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita appealed the judge’s decision on Wednesday, sending it up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

“We will continue to fight to defend Indiana’s commonsense abortion laws and to build a culture of life in Indiana,” Rokita said in a statement.

Pro-life organization Indiana Right to Life spoke out against the ruling as “judicial activism at its absolute worst.”

“This is a horrific ruling that will directly lead to a massive expansion of chemical and late term abortions in Indiana,” organization President Mike Fichter said in a statement. “The sweeping blockage of these common sense laws jeopardizes the health and safety of women, leaves women in the dark on issues of fetal pain and the development of human life.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said “providing abortion care in Indiana has not been easy” and that the organization was “grateful to the courts for upholding the right to evidence-based abortion care by overturning these unjust and burdensome regulations.”

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