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Indiana abortion laws challenged by national abortion advocates

June 22, 2018

Indiana’s abortion laws are once again being challenged in federal court, this time by national healthcare and abortion providers.

Whole Woman’s Health Alliance and All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center filed suit on Thursday as co-plaintiffs in a case against the state, challenging the constitutionality of Indiana abortion laws. Both organizations argue the laws block access to safe and legal abortion in the state for Hoosier women, though they did not specify which laws they are challenging.

Texas-based Whole Women’s Health Alliance previously took steps to open a non-surgical abortion clinic in South Bend in January, but was denied by the Indiana State Department of Health, according to the Associated Press.

“In Texas, Virginia, and now in Indiana, we have joined forces with our allies to fight for women’s access to quality abortion care without a maze of obstacles,” Whole Woman’s Health President Amy Hagstrom Miller said in a Thursday statement. “The Whole Woman’s Health Supreme Court victory was game-changing – affirming that abortion laws must be based on medical evidence. We’re using this new standard to challenge dozens or restrictions, some dating back decades, that are based on ideology, not health or science.”

Whole Woman’s Health’s Indiana lawsuit comes two years after the landmark 2016 U.S. Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the Supreme Court struck down several provisions of Texas’ anti-abortion law.

“The ruling found that politicians cannot simply claim that an abortion restriction’s benefits outweigh the harm, instead a court must consider medical science and evidence to determine if abortion restrictions have benefits that outweigh the burdens they place on women,” Whole Woman’s Health said in a Thursday news release.

Indiana Attorney General Hill's office, which will represent the state, said it "will review this lawsuit as we prepare to defend Indiana's laws respecting fetal life and protecting women's health and safety."

Thursday’s lawsuit comes as a ruling on a preliminary injunction is expected any day from the Indiana Southern District Court. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana, urged Judge Richard Young to enjoin Senate Enrolled Act 340, which is scheduled to take effect July 1. That law would require abortion providers to report “all abortion complications” and creates new inspection requirements for abortion clinics that are not imposed on other medical facilities.

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