August 25, 2020

Planned Parenthood Drops Lawsuit Against Indiana Ultrasound Requirement

Photo credit: Andrew Malone / Flickr
On August 19, Planned Parenthood formally announced that it is dropping a lawsuit against an Indiana law requiring women to have ultrasounds before they can have abortions.

A court filing from the state of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky reads, “Due to events that have occurred in the more than three years since this court entered the preliminary injunction—including, Plaintiff’s addition of a new ultrasound machine at a new clinic in Fort Wayne—the parties have conferred and agree that, on January 1, 2021, the preliminary injunction should be vacated and this case should be dismissed.”

The 2016 law requires a woman to have an ultrasound at least 18 hours before she can have an abortion procedure. Federal District and Appeals Courts ruled against the ultrasound requirement, but the rippling effects of June Medical LLC v. Russo have come back to revive several previously-dead pro-life laws. While the ultimate decision in June Medical LLC v. Russo benefitted pro-abortion groups in Louisiana, Chief Justice John Roberts's reasoning in his concurring opinion revived several cases regarding abortion restrictions passed by state governments.

Roberts's opinion stated that states have the right to restrict abortion if they meet specific standards. Before this case, courts performed a subjective "cost-benefit test" of pro-life laws to determine whether the "costs" of restricting abortion or ensuring their safety to women outweighed the "benefits" of doing so.

Regarding the revival of the Indiana abortion law, State Attorney General Curtis Hill said, “For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling,” he added. “Anyone interested in protecting women’s health, including their mental health, should support giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision-making.”

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