Indiana attorney general plans to appeal federal judge's decision blocking abortion restrictions


Bloomington's Planned Parenthood, located on South College Avenue. IDS file photo

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said he intends to appeal a recently released court decision about abortion restrictions, according to a written statement from his director of communications. 

On Friday, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction, a judicial order that restrains a person from threatening or invading the legal right of another, against an Indiana abortion law signed by former Gov. Mike Pence in March 2016.

The law, House Enrolled Act 1337,  would make it more difficult for women to get an abortion.They would be prohibited from receiving abortions because of the fetus’ potential to be born with a disability, such as Down syndrome, or due to race, color, national origin, ancestry or sex.

The law also placed stricter requirements on women who seek abortions and doctors who provide them. Under this legislation, women would have been required to have an ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to the abortion. A funeral for the fetal remains was also required. Doctors who provide abortions would have been required to disclose their identities, and they were individually liable for not abiding by this law.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit, claiming the law was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued an injunction in June 2016, but the injunction was not made permanent until Friday. 

"I am disappointed by the court's decision," Hill said in his statement. "A federal judge has cleared the path for genetic discrimination that once seemed like science fiction."

Jenna Fisher, president of Students for Life at IU, echoed the attorney general's disapproval. 

"HEA 1337 is a huge step toward showing equality for all life," she said. "It upholds the dignity of every human person." 

However, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU said in a press release that they were pleased with Pratt’s decision.

“The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion,” Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said in the release. “The State of Indiana’s attempt to invade a woman’s privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unconstitutional.”

Paige Settles, director of political affairs for College Democrats at IU, said she, too, was happy with the ruling.

“The whole point behind this law was to use buzzwords like genetic discrimination to try to take away a woman’s right to choose, and this ruling just makes it abundantly clear that that’s unconstitutional,” she said.

Settles encouraged students interested in women's rights issues to get involved.  

“As IU Democrats, we’ve always been very supportive of a women’s right to choose,” she said.

In support of this right to choose, Settles said the College Democrats at IU will have a women’s reproductive rights rally Oct. 25 at Dunn Meadow.

College Republicans at IU did not respond to a request for comment.

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