By Dave Andrusko
Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, not known as a judge sympathetic to pro-life legislation, nonetheless upheld a number of critical Indiana abortion laws against a lawsuit filed by the Texas-based Whole Woman’s Health Alliance which has an abortion clinic in South Bend, Indiana.
Judge Barker, however, allowed court action to continue against several other Indiana abortion laws.
In 2018, the group sued the state “after the state health department denied its request for a license to operate the clinic performing medication-induced abortions in South Bend,” according to the Associated Press.
“This ruling represents an important victory in Indiana’s efforts to defend life and promote the health of women seeking abortions,” said Attorney General Curtis Hill. “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.”
The Attorney General’s office outlined the laws upheld by Judge Barker, They included
- 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
In addition, “The judge also upheld under the Due Process Clause restrictions on the dosage and administration of the abortion drug mifepristone, a well as specifications for abortion clinic facilities,” the Attorney General’s office explained. “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.”
Reporting for WLKY, Brandon Smith outlined those laws Judge Parker allowed court action to proceed. They include
- a requirement that only doctors (and not, for instance, nurse practitioners) can perform abortions
- a requirement that second trimester abortions can only take place in hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers
- a requirement that the mandated patient examination at least 18 hours before an abortion must be done in-person
- a requirement that the mandated informed consent at least 18 hours before an abortion must be done in-person
- a requirement that doctors tell patients a fetus can feel pain
- a requirement that doctors tell patients that “human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm”
But AG Hill was not giving up. “We will continue to defend Indiana’s common-sense abortion laws from the meritless, self-interested attacks of abortion providers,” he said.
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