Aug 22, 2013
Aug 22, 2013
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Indiana, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Lafayette Clinic challenging SB 371, a law which expanded the definition of “abortion clinic” to include facilities that provide abortion-inducing drugs. In addition, SB 371 amended state law to require that all facilities that provide only medication abortion—and which do not perform surgical abortions—meet the same physical plant requirements as clinics that offer surgical abortions. As a result of the law, the Lafayette clinic would be required to renovate its facilities to meet surgical standards even though no surgical abortions are performed at the clinic.
Plaintiff claims, among other things, that the law is an unreasonable regulation of medicine in violation of women’s right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it requires the Lafayette Clinic to meet requirements that are relevant only to clinics that perform surgical abortions; that the law is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause since it applies only to the Lafayette clinic and does not apply to private physicians’ offices that perform the same procedures; and that the law unduly burdens patients’ right to choose an abortion.
On November 26, 2013, District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson blocked enforcement of the law pending resolution of the litigation, thus allowing the Lafayette clinic to continue providing medication abortion without renovating the clinic. The law was slated to go into effect on January 1, 2014. Both parties have filed motions for summary judgment asking the court to decide the case without a trial on the merits.
On December 3, 2014, Judge Magnus-Stinson ruled that the law is unconstitutional because “it allows the state to arbitrarily divide medication abortion providers into two groups, ‘abortion clinics’ and ‘physician’s offices,’ and to treat those groups differently without a rational basis for doing so, by requiring only ‘abortion clinics’ and not ‘physician’s offices’ meet the surgical center requirements at issue.”
The December 2014 ruling does not address Plaintiff’s claim that the law unduly burdens patients’ right to choose an abortion. Nevertheless, the parties moved for final judgment in the case and the trial set for June 2015 will not go forward on that issue.
**last updated March 27, 2015