Indiana abortion clinic law deemed unconstitutional
Indiana abortion clinic law deemed unconstitutional

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] on Wednesday struck down [opinion, PDF] a state law [IC 16-18-2, text] that altered the requirements for abortion clinics who only perform drug-induced abortions. Under this law, even clinics who only perform medical abortions would be required to be “minimally prepared” to treat unexpected complications surgically. The judge ruled that the law is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment [text] right to equal protection, as it treats an abortion clinic differently than a physician’s office that would provide the same medication. According to the judge, “the consequence is that the [clinic] must either comply with certain physical plant requirements that previously only applied to surgical abortion providers, or stop providing medication abortions. No ‘physician’s office’ faces the same choice.”

Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] continue to be a hot-button legal issue throughout the US, with a number of states proposing laws to limit abortions. In October the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed [JURIST report] an existing state law limiting the use of drugs in abortion procedures. Also last month Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed an appeal asking the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reverse a July ruling [JURIST report] that a 2012 state law requiring abortion clinic doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges is unconstitutional. In August the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division ruled [JURIST report] that Alabama’s recently enacted [JURIST op-ed] requirement [HB 57] that all doctors who provide abortions must have staff privileges to perform designated procedures at a local hospital is unconstitutional.