Indiana Right to Life denounces 7th Circuit ruling blocking ultrasound law

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter today denounced a ruling by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld an injunction blocking Indiana’s 18-hour ultrasound requirement prior to an abortion.

Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act, signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence in 2016, contained a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion must be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound provision was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood in July 2016 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling. The provision remained in effect until U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued an injunction in April 2017.

“The court’s ruling denies women the right to see ultrasound images of their unborn babies at least 18 hours before an abortion,” Fichter said.

“The blockage of this law in 2017 is already resulting in a sharp rise in abortions in Indiana, as well as a major spike in out-of-state women coming to Indiana for abortions. Sadly, many women will proceed with having an abortion without ever seeing the humanity of their unborn babies on display through ultrasound imaging. Abortion providers continue doing everything they can to block women from being fully informed prior to an abortion decision.

“Once again, the 7th Circuit is playing politics by blocking common sense legislation passed by overwhelming majorities in the Indiana legislature. We urge the Indiana Attorney General to appeal this ruling and fervently hope it will be argued before a Supreme Court bench that includes Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”

Indiana’s abortion numbers rose dramatically in 2017 following the decision by Judge Pratt, an Obama appointee. The increase of 496 abortions in 2017 over 2016 marks the first upward swing in abortions in Indiana since 2009, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s newly-released 2017 Induced Terminated Pregnancy Report.The impact of the blockage of Indiana’s ultrasound law is clear.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 3,317 abortions in Indiana. After Judge Platt issued her injunction, during the comparable period of July through December in 2017, abortions spiked to 3,813 in Indiana—an increase of 496 abortions—which represented a 13 % increase.

A significant portion of the increase was due to a massive 33% increase in women from out of state coming to Indiana for abortions, with 296 abortions on out of state women in 2017 compared to 222 in 2016.