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Federal Judge Sides With Lafayette Abortion Clinic In Fight Against Two State Laws


A federal judge has struck down portions of Indiana laws that regulate abortion clinics.

In a preliminary ruling, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson writes that part of the law attempting to regulate Planned Parenthood centers that provide non-surgical abortions more strictly than regular doctor‘s offices who provide the same services violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk represents Planned Parenthood in the case.

"An abortion clinic had to meet surgical abortion clinic standards, even though the Lafayette clinic for Planned Parenthood, which is where this case was centered, does not perform surgical abortions," Falk says.

The judge also ruled a second law unconstitutional, allowing the state Board of Health to waive the "surgical readiness" requirement for doctor‘s offices perform chemical abortions if the board found the regulations were not necessary to protect the health and safety of patients. However, the law denied that right to abortion clinics, Falk says. Judge Magnus-Stinson calls the law "irrational" and the distinctions in it “arbitrary.”

This is not a final ruling from the judge. Falk says since Planned Parenthood had asked the laws to be struck down on grounds other than those cited by Magnus-Stinson, he and lawyers from the state will have to confer about how the case will proceed. A spokesperson for Attorney General Greg Zoeller‘s office says the state is reviewing the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.