INDIANAPOLIS — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against the state of Indiana over a new regulation that requires abortion facilities in the state that solely provide medical (pill-based) abortions to be bound to the same standards as surgical abortion facilities.
The suit was filed on Thursday on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, and asserts that the law infringes upon the constitutional rights of abortion providers.
“The laws irrationally and invidiously discriminate against PPINK [Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky],” Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, told the Courier-Journal. “and pose a significant and unnecessary burden that violates the Constitution’s guarantees of privacy, due process and equal protection.”
More specifically, the ACLU alleges that the law targets the sole abortion facility in the state that only provides pill-based abortions: Planned Parenthood in LaFayette.
“These legislative changes were made specifically to target PPINK’s Lafayette clinic as the fact that the clinic was the only non-surgical abortion facility in Indiana that prescribed and dispensed abortion inducing drugs was frequently mentioned during legislative debates,” it wrote in its legal complaint.
During medical abortions, drugs such as RU-486 and others are used to terminate the pregnancy and cause the developing–and now deceased–baby to be expelled out of the body. Most commonly, the child is birthed into the toilet.
“After taking the mifepristone and receiving detailed instructions and scheduling a followup appointment, the patient will leave the office. Before leaving the office she will receive, but not take, another medication – misoprostol, which is a prostaglandin that will
cause uterine contractions that expel the uterine contents,” the ACLU explained of the procedure. “The woman will take the
misoprostol, as instructed, approximately 24 hours later at a location of her choosing outside of the clinic.”
A law passed earlier this year expanded the definition of abortion facilities to include those that administer an “abortion-inducing drug,” and required those that provide pill-based abortions to follow the same standards as surgical facilities. Scrub and recovery rooms would need to be constructed and emergency call systems and resuscitation equipment must be on standby. The ACLU says that the mandates are overkill.
However, Indiana officials state that they are ready to fight in the courts to defend the new requirements.
“In fulfilling our duty to defend statutes our legislature passes from legal challenges plaintiffs file, we are defending the authority of the people’s elected representatives to make public policy decisions,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller wrote in a statement. “When a challenge is brought against a statute it allows the judicial branch to fulfill its role in deciding the new law’s constitutionality. We look forward to respectfully asserting the State’s case.”
Mike Fichter of Indiana Right to Life also asserted that the lawsuit demonstrates that Planned Parenthood cares more about lining its pockets than it does about the well-being of women.
“[The] lawsuit comes as no surprise because Planned Parenthood wants to protect its abortion business. It’s clear that Planned Parenthood sees any amount of common sense oversight as too much oversight. If Planned Parenthood truly cared about women’s health, they would desire all abortion facilities, even facilities they do not operate, to meet a basic standard,” he contended. “The state is well within its bounds on Senate Enrolled Act 371. If Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit advances to any court, we believe any judge will recognize the authority of the state to put this law into effect.”
Over 8,000 abortions were performed in Indiana last year, with over 200 women obtaining drug-induced abortions.