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Federal judge blocks Indiana abortion-drug law

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A federal judge Tuesday granted an injunction blocking enforcement of an Indiana law that would have required Planned Parenthood clinics that provide abortion-inducing medications to also meet the requirements of clinics that perform surgical abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky sued the state and won a preliminary injunction against Senate Enrolled Act 371 that was signed into law May 1 by Gov. Mike Pence.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis ruled Planned Parenthood was likely to prevail on its pleading that Indiana Code § 16-18-2-1.5(a)(2) violates equal-protection guarantees because it divides providers of medication abortions into two groups – abortion clinics and physicians offices – and places different requirements on them.

In the case of Planned Parenthood’s Lafayette clinic, the law required the clinic to meet the same physical plant requirements of facilities that perform surgical abortions, even though that clinic doesn’t do so.

“The State has not presented a rational basis for distinguishing between medication abortion providers in this way, particularly when considering the statutory ambiguity between the terms ‘abortion clinic’ and ‘physician’s office,’” Magnus-Stinson wrote in granting a preliminary injunction in Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. v.; Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, et al., 1:13-cv-1335-JMS-MJD.

According to the judge, without an injunction, Planned Parenthood would have to determine whether it would cease providing abortion-inducing pills or modify the Lafayette facility. “Given (Planned Parenthood’s) strong likelihood of success on the merits of its equal protection claim, the Court concludes that the balancing of harms favors issuing a preliminary injunction,” she wrote.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office defended the statute and in a statement after the ruling noted that Planned Parenthood didn’t prevail on other claims for injunctive relief.

“This new law reflects the policy judgment of Indiana legislators elected by our citizens.  The Court’s decision faulting the law for treating nonsurgical abortion clinics different from physicians’ offices must be thoroughly reviewed. Because of the narrow ruling, we will consult with our clients and decide how next to proceed,” Zoeller said.

 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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