For Immediate Release
Sept. 25, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS – Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana are pleased that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted summary judgment and a permanent injunction against the enforcement of abortion restrictions in House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1337, which was one of the more restrictive abortion laws in the nation. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, found that the provisions violate due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment as well as First Amendment rights of free speech.
The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit in April, 2016, on behalf of PPINK, against the Indiana State Department of Health, prosecutors of several counties and the state medical licensing board. Judge Pratt granted a preliminary injunction on June 30, 2016, blocking provisions of HEA 1337 that were set to go into effect the following day. Judge Pratt entered summary judgment on Sept. 22, 2017.
Indiana House Enrolled Act 1337, signed into law by Governor Pence on March 24 and effective July 1, 2016 imposed unconstitutional and intrusive restrictions on abortion. Recalling a time before the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to abortion, the Enrolled Act barred a woman from getting an abortion based on her reason. Specifically, it prohibited abortions if the sole reason for the abortion is the fetus's race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex or diagnosis of a statutorily-defined "disability" or "potential diagnosis" of a "disability."
In granting a permanent injunction, Judge Pratt wrote "[I]t is a woman's right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the State to examine, let alone prohibit, the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice." [emphasis in original]
Racial justice, gender equality, and disability rights advocates have opposed the Indiana law and similar legislation. They point out that if politicians were serious about addressing inequities based on race, gender or disability status, they could expand access to high quality healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.
The law also required that women must be informed of this prohibition as part of Indiana's state-mandated so-called "informed consent" process. The court ruled that compelling health care providers to inform women about an unconstitutional law violates the First Amendment. Judge Pratt's decision also struck down new fetal tissue disposition provisions of HEA 1337.
"PPINK was confident Judge Tanya Walton Pratt would rule that the restrictions imposed by HEA 1337 violate the Constitution," said Christie Gillespie, President and CEO of PPINK. "Every person deserves the right to make their own personal decisions about abortion. There is no medical basis for these restrictions. This is just another example of politicians coming between a patient and her doctor."
ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said, "The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion. The State of Indiana's attempt to invade a woman's privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unconstitutional."
"Unnecessary restrictions such as these demean women and threaten the quality of their health care." said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. "The ACLU of Indiana will continue to work to ensure that every woman can make the best decision for herself and her family about whether and when to continue a pregnancy without undue political interference."
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The case, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, et al., v. Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, Prosecutors of Marion, Lake, Monroe, and Tippecanoe Counties; Individual Members of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, Case No. 1:16-cv-00763-TWP-DML, was filed on Thurs. April 7, 2016 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Attorneys on the case include Kenneth J. Falk, Gavin M. Rose and Jan P. Mensz, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana; Helene Kransoff, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and Jennifer Dalven, American Civil Liberties Union.