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Federal judge blocks Indiana law regulating abortion facilities

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] issued a temporary injunction [ACLU press release] on Tuesday against an Indiana law [text] regulating abortion facilities. Under the law, facilities prescribing Mifepristone, the so-called "abortion pill," must meet the same regulatory requirements as clinics that perform surgical abortions. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) and American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana [advocacy websites] challenged [JURIST report] the law in August. In the preliminary injunction, district court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson found a reasonable likelihood of success in PPINK's claim that the law violates its right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment [text] because the law treats abortion clinics providing Mifepristone differently than physicians' offices which prescribe the same medication.

This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder] in the US. Earlier this month, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne petitioned [JURIST report] the US Supreme Court to reinstate an Arizona law and overturn the holding of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which in August struck down [JURIST report] a law that would strip Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that perform abortions. In October, a federal judge dismissed a challenge [JURIST report] to Arizona's race based abortion laws. In May, a federal court struck down the state's 20-week abortion ban [JURIST report]. Some scholars have contended that lawsuits challenging state regulations excluding abortion from comprehensive insurance plans could be the vehicle through which courts can reframe the constitutional basis of abortion rights [JURIST op-ed].

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