Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. filed a petition with the US Supreme Court Monday asking the court to determine whether the state’s law requiring an ultrasound be performed at least 18 hours before receiving an abortion is constitutional.
In 2016 the Indiana General Assembly enacted House Enrolled Act 1337, imposing strict limits on medical professionals that provide abortion services. The law requires women who are seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before the procedure can be performed as part of the state’s “informed consent” policy. Soon after passage, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the ACLU of Indiana sued to block the implementation of the law. Planned Parenthood argued that the waiting period between the ultrasound and the procedure created an “undue burden” on women by requiring two separate trips to the clinic in order to receive an abortion and that this waiting period disproportionally affected lower-income women. An injunction preventing the implementation of the law was issued by a federal district court in 2016, which was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in April.
In a statement Tuesday, Hill said that “the state has a compelling interest to protect fetal life and dignity,” and that it “has an obligation to ensure that women do not feel rushed or pressured into getting an abortion.” Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky CEO Christine Charbonneau responded that the law “chips away at a patient’s ability to access critical health care when they need it,” and that it would “stand with its partners and continue to fight this medically unnecessary law” to the Supreme Court.
The case is the second high-profile abortion rights case to reach the Supreme Court in recent weeks. On Saturday Justice Samuel Alito issued a stay blocking a Louisiana law requiring doctors providing abortion services to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.