By Dave Andrusko
On Tuesday, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, issued a permanent injunction barring state employees from enforcing or administering six abortion-related provisions.
On Wednesday, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita appealed the federal judge’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
While Judge Barker did uphold some pro-life provisions—“laws requiring an ultrasound before an abortion, and that medication abortions meet FDA standards,” the Indianapolis Star reported– she permanently joined others. According to Indiana Right to Life
Under the injunction, Indiana is blocked from enforcing physician-only limitations on chemical abortions, Indiana’s ban on chemical abortions via telemedicine, Indiana’s requirement that second trimester abortions can only be done in hospitals, Indiana’s requirement that women be informed about an unborn baby’s ability to feel pain at 20 weeks, Indiana’s requirement that women be informed that human physical life begins at fertilization, and multiple physical requirements for facilities that do abortions.
Attorney General Todd Rokita said Judge Barkers decision “only strengthens our resolve to keep fighting for the lives of unborn children and the health of mothers,” adding “We will continue to fight to defend Indiana’s commonsense abortion laws and to build a culture of life in Indiana.”
Rokita asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case. He also filed an appeal for a stay of the decision, maintaining that “The State has a strong likelihood of prevailing against the permanent injunction on appeal.”
The Court’s decision to strike down the State’s physician-only requirement for medication abortions contravenes Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit precedent approving the restriction of abortion to licensed physicians and relies on no data that would justify a departure from those decisions.
Likewise, the Court’s decision to overturn the second trimester hospitalization/ASC requirement runs afoul of binding Supreme Court precedent and is reversible on that basis. Further, in holding that the in-person counseling requirement, the telemedicine ban, and the physical examination requirement
each impose an undue burden, the Court effectively found a constitutional mandate to adopt modern telemedicine. But the Seventh Circuit has already upheld the in-person disclosure requirement, and none of the statutes limiting use of telemedicine can be said to impose substantial constitutional burdens merely because they forego previously unavailable technological conveniences.
And if all that were not enough, plaintiffs disavowed any attempt to show that any of the enjoined regulations actually depresses Indiana abortion rates.
Absent evidence that any of these regulations imposes a substantial obstacle, the Court’s determination that each constitutes an undue burden is likely to be overturned on appeal.
Writing for the Indianapolis Star, Johnny Magdaleno noted not only that Indiana had passed a number of pro-life laws, the state had also joined 18 other states in one pro-life case and 19 other states in another pro-life case.