The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit in federal court this morning challenging the state’s new abortion law.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood, a doctor contracted by Planned Parenthood and a nurse practitioner employed by Planned Parenthood. The Indiana State Department of Health, the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, and the county prosecutors in Marion, Lake, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties are listed as defendants. The counties represented are home to Planned Parenthood locations that provide surgical and/or non-surgical abortion services.
“The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion,” said ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk. “The State of Indiana’s attempt to invade a woman’s privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unprecedented and unconstitutional.”
The suit alleges HEA 1337 is unconstitutional because it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the ACLU claims the law violates a woman’s right to due process under the law and equal protection by imposing an “undue burden on a women’s right to choose” by prohibiting an abortion under certain circumstances. HEA 1337 prohibits a healthcare provider from performing an abortion if the sole reason for the abortion is the fetus’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, diagnosis or potential diagnosis of a disability — regardless of the gestational age of the fetus. The suit claims due process and equal protection are also violated in the provision mandating the final disposition of fetal remains.
“The ACLU stands firmly against discrimination in all forms, but that isn’t what this law is about,” said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. “Unnecessary restrictions, like those recently signed into law, demean women and threaten the quality of their health care. 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.”
The suit claims the First Amendments rights of abortion clinics, their employees and patients are violated because of the “informed consent” mandate, which requires employees to inform patients of the prohibition and other aspects of the law prior to giving consent to the procedure.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect.RELATED: A list of every legislator that voted yes to HEA 1337
The General Assembly passed HEA 1337 in its most recent session and Gov. Mike Pence signed it into law March 24. The law is set to take effect July 1. Although legislators wrote and passed the law, the listed defendants are the entities responsible for enforcing the law’s mandates and issuing any disciplinary action when the law is violated.