Planned Parenthood has dropped a lawsuit against an Indiana law that requires women to undergo an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion procedure.
“For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling,” said Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, who has represented the state in this case. “Anyone interested in protecting women’s health, including their mental health, should support giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision-making. Empowering women with knowledge is fully consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”
Planned Parenthood, in partnership with the ACLU, had been fighting this law since its passage four years ago in 2016.
The ultrasound requirement was signed into law by then-governor (now-Vice President) Mike Pence within a larger piece of pro-life legislation. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky sued the state and was granted a preliminary injunction by the district court, which prevented the law from taking effect.
The ruling concluded that the ultrasound requirement placed an undue burden on women, especially low-income women, who are attempting to obtain an abortion.
“For women faced with the already high costs of an abortion and a lack of means to afford them, the additional expenses of lengthy travel, lost wages, and child care created by the new ultrasound law create a significant burden,” stated the ruling.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Planned Parenthood and affirmed the injunction in July of 2018. Indiana appealed to the Supreme Court, which remanded the case to the circuit court for reconsideration.
On remand, however, Planned Parenthood has conceded, dismissing the lawsuit and entering into an agreement with the state that the law may go into effect on January 1, 2021 – almost five years after the law was originally signed.
Hill called this a pro-life victory and commended Planned Parenthood for their concession:
“I’m pleased that Planned Parenthood saw the likelihood that this very reasonable law ultimately would be upheld. To their credit, they recognized the merits of avoiding further legal wrangling over this matter.”
Planned Parenthood, however, still considers this an attack on women’s reproductive rights:
“To be clear, the 18-hour ultrasound requirement has nothing to do with patient safety, and is only meant to add another barrier in accessing abortion care,” said PPINK CEO Chris Charbonneau. “But at this time, we are fortunately able to maintain the same level of access to patient care and comply with this medically unnecessary law as of January 2021.”
Planned Parenthood has a new clinic in Fort Wayne with ultrasound capabilities as soon as their staff has been trained.
Indiana is known as one of the most pro-life states in the nation, to the vexation of Planned Parenthood. In their concession, Charbonneau stated their intent to continue fighting Indiana pro-life laws:
“Make no mistake, Planned Parenthood has and will continue to fight these attacks by Indiana politicians….Indiana ranks second in the nation for abortion restrictions, and is a hostile environment for patient care. Hoosiers can count on us to fight back against these attacks while we continue to provide care – no matter what.”