Indiana Forced Ultrasound Law Blocked

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Indiana Forced Ultrasound Law Blocked

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A federal court ruled an Indiana requirement mandating patients have an ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion creates an undue burden.

A federal judge last week blocked a provision of an Indiana law that would have forced patients in need of an abortion to undergo a forced ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to the medical procedure.

The requirement went into effect in July. Prior to the 18-hour mandatory ultrasound requirement, patients in Indiana were forced to have an ultrasound before receiving abortion care, but could schedule and have it on the same day as the abortion. The newly blocked provision changed this to 18 hours before the procedure, forcing patients to take an extra trip prior to having an abortion. Doctors must also certify certain things about the pregnancy including the age and gender of the fetus, if detectable.

Attorneys on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky sued shortly after the law passed in the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, arguing the new requirement creates an undue burden on a patient’s right to choose abortion care.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in her ruling that Indiana’s new requirement “creates significant financial and other burdens” on the providers and their patients, particularly people with low incomes. Judge Pratt noted that about 75 percent of Planned Parenthood of Indiana & Kentucky patients had incomes at or below 200 percent the federal poverty line.

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The order temporarily blocks the provision while the litigation challenging it proceeds. Attorneys for the state of Indiana have not yet said if they will appeal the ruling. They have 30 days to do so.