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Indiana wants ban on abortion pill law lifted

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An Indiana law that would require Planned Parenthood to stop performing drug-induced abortions at a Lafayette clinic or make significant upgrades to the facility wouldn't block women's access to the procedure, attorneys for the state contend.

The Indiana attorney general's office filed a brief late Monday supporting its request for summary judgment in the case. Both the state and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asked U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson to rule in their favor after she issued a preliminary injunction in November blocking the 2013 law from taking effect.

The law would require clinics that only perform drug-induced abortions to meet the same standards as those that perform surgical abortions by adding a recovery room and surgical equipment and making other upgrades. While some Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana offer both procedures, the Lafayette clinic only performs drug-induced abortions.

The state's attorneys say that although the law might require some women to travel farther to obtain an abortion, that isn't illegal and the ACLU failed to show it would prevent anyone from seeking the procedure.

"The Supreme Court has never held that a woman is entitled to the abortion method of her choice," the state's attorneys argued.

The ACLU argued in its previous brief that the law would "irrationally" require clinics that offer medication-induced abortions to meet the same requirements as surgical clinics, whether or not they perform surgeries. But the law would not require doctor's offices that prescribe abortion pills to meet the same standards as long as abortion pills are not their main business, the group said. The ACLU said that violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

The state argued in its brief Monday that legislators have the constitutional power to treat abortion clinics and physicians' offices differently.

Betty Cockrum, the head of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said if the law is allowed to take effect, women in the Lafayette area seeking a drug-induced abortion would have to travel more than an hour to Indianapolis or to Merrillville in northwest Indiana to obtain one, because clinics there offer both drug-induced and surgical abortions. That would create a barrier to abortion for women, the ACLU contends.

If the state wins the case, Cockrum said Planned Parenthood would have to decide whether to convert the clinic so it could offer surgical abortions or to stop offering abortions there. But Planned Parenthood does more in the interest of reproductive health and contraception than offer abortions, she said.

"We will not close the Lafayette health center," Cockrum said.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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