A day after the Ninth Circuit Court struck down an Arizona law that would have restricted access and effectively defunded Planned Parenthood clinics, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it is suing Indiana’s Department of Health on the grounds that a 2012 law that redefines “abortion clinic” as any facility that dispenses what the state calls an “abortion inducing drug” is unconstitutional. The legislation requires that clinics that only provide mifepristone, a drug that induces abortion non-surgically, meet the standards of clinics that provide abortions via surgical procedures, including separate procedure, recovery and scrub rooms.
The law specifically targets the Planned Parenthood in Lafayette, as it is the only care center in the state that will be affected by it.
“These legislative changes specifically targeting PPINK’s [Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky] Lafayette health care center are not reasonably related to any legitimate purpose,” said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director in a statement. “The laws irrationally and invidiously discriminate against PPINK and pose a significant and unnecessary burden that violates the Constitution’s guarantees of privacy, due process and equal protection.”
The law redefines as an “abortion clinic” as any facility that dispenses “a medicine, drug, or substance prescribed or dispensed with the intent of terminating a clinically diagnosable pregnancy with the knowledge that the termination will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the fetus.” If allowed to stand, PPINK’s care center in Lafayette will have to be renovated extensively by January 1, 2014, despite the fact that no surgical procedures are performed there.
“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, which also provide Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control, and STD testing and treatment,” said Betty Cockrum, CEO of PPINK. “We have been providing health care for more than 40 years in Lafayette, and we will continue to do so.”
In July, District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt made permanent a temporary injunction against an Indiana law that would have defunded all Planned Parenthood care centers statewide. This law would have effectively barred Medicaid patients from receiving any treatment, including preventative care, at facilities where abortions were performed. Judge Pratt ruled that the law violated the Medicaid statute that protects patients’ rights to choose their health care provider.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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