Mike Fichter

A Planned Parenthood clinic in northwest Indiana has halted abortions because of a state law that involves doctors’ admitting privileges marking the first time the state has used the law to stop services.

In a letter earlier this month the Indiana State Department of Health told the Merrillville Planned Parenthood to stop performing abortions because a doctor with admitting privileges had ended their relationship with the clinic.

An anti-abortion group is criticizing a decline in Planned Parenthood’s services and clients over the last decade. The attack comes as the number of abortions increased slightly.

The number of patients at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is down about 50 percent since 2007. The organization went from 35 clinics to 17 in that time.

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter says that’s proof the organization is failing.

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Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is appealing the federal ruling against a state law requiring women to wait at least 18 hours between an ultrasound and an abortion.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Supporters of the new law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges don‘t believe that rulings against similar laws in other states will change anything in Indiana.

The state‘s law requiring doctors who perform abortions to document their admitting privileges at hospitals near the clinics took effect July 1st. But over the last two weeks, similar laws have been put on hold by federal courts in two states.

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. 

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) is suing the State of Indiana, arguing that a piece of legislation passed earlier this year (SEA 371) singles out one health center in Lafayette. PPINK calls the new regulations discriminatory and unconstitutional.

“The additional restrictions in this new law are in no way related to patient safety,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of PPINK. “This law is clearly part of a coordinated national effort to end access to safe, legal abortion by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood health care centers.”