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Judge halts IN abortion drug law

A federal judge Tuesday halted enforcement of an Indiana law that would impose new requirements on abortion clinics that provide only chemical, and not surgical, abortions. 

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2013 requiring abortion clinics that dispense abortion-inducing drugs to comply with strict surgical facility standards, even if those clinics don’t perform surgical abortions.  The law’s requirements do not extend to the offices of private physicians who administer the drug, so it only affects one existing location – a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette. 

ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk, who represents Planned Parenthood, says the judge halted the law because it imposes a double standard.

“What she said was that it is fundamentally irrational – or we are likely to be able to demonstrate that it is fundamentally irrational – and a violation of equal protection where you have a statute which imposes this requirement that a clinic that only hands out medication must comply with surgical requirements but a doctor’s office – which does exactly the same thing – does not under the statute.”

In a statement, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller described the ruling as “narrow” and says he will consult with lawmakers and decide how to proceed in the case.  

Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter notes that while the preliminary injunction is a temporary setback, he is confident the State of Indiana will ultimately prevail.   

"Today's court action means that Planned Parenthood will be allowed to continue its abortion operations in Lafayette without meeting a single physical building requirement," he says. "Planned Parenthood simply does not want to cut into its profit margin by doing the renovations required by Indiana law."

“We are pleased women in Lafayette will continue to have the safe and legal option of non-surgical abortion available to them while this case proceeds,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK).

“We continue to believe that the additional restrictions in this new law are in no way related to patient safety," she says. "These restrictions are simply part of a coordinated national effort aimed at ending access to safe, legal abortion by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood health care centers, which also provide Pap tests, breast and testicular cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment and annual wellness exams.”

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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