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Appeal Likely After Federal Judge Reverses Indiana Ultrasound Law

Posted On April 04, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – An Indiana law requiring women to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before an abortion has been ruled unconstitutional.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Tonya Walton Pratt ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the ACLU of Indiana, awarding a preliminary injunction halting the law while the courts settle whether it is constitutional. The organizations had filed a lawsuit in federal court following the passage of the law signed by then-Governor Mike Pence last year.

Preatt wrote in her 53-page ruling that Indiana’s mandate “creates significant financial and other burdens” on the group and its patients, particularly low-income women.

The ultrasound requirement was part of a larger 2016 abortion law, parts of which have already been struck down in federal court.  Last year, Pratt overturned a provision banning abortions performed for the sole reason of the fetus’ sex, race, disability, or national origin.

Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood Indiana Kentucky, expects the injunction to hold as the court battle will most likely continue.

“The ruling says the State did not provide one single fact in support of its argument against us,” said Cockrum.

Indiana Right to Life is asking the Indiana Attorney General’s office to appeal Pratt’s ruling, which president and CEO Mike Fichter called “sadly predictable.”

“Judge Pratt has consistently issued rulings that favor the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood opposes giving women 18-hours between seeing their unborn child and having an abortion because they are worried about money. Planned Parenthood doesn’t want to spend money on purchasing ultrasound equipment for any of its non-abortion locations. It also doesn’t want to risk losing abortion profits if women change their mind about ending their pregnancies,” he said.

Fichter said that Attorney General Curtis Hill, a Republican, is solidly pro-life. Cockrum expects an appeal.

“He is an activist attorney general and this is his first opportunity really to take on direct battle with Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the ACLU of Indiana,” she said.

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