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ACLU files lawsuit for Planned Parenthood over new abortion bill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is filing a lawsuit against the Indiana State Department of Health and other government agencies.

The suit asks the court to block the law from going into effect in July, saying that it “imposes unconstitutional restrictions on women seeking abortions and their health care providers.”

According to the release, ACLU and PPINK claim the law violates “due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment as well as First Amendment rights of free speech.”

“The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion. The State of Indiana’s attempt to invade a woman’s privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unprecedented and unconstitutional,” said ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk.

The bill bans abortions sought because of fetal abnormalities, including those that can lead to later miscarriages, and mandates fetal remains be either cremated or buried  Activists plan a Statehouse rally Saturday challenging both legislators and Pence, who built a reputation in Congress as an anti-abortion activist and billed the new law as a “comprehensive pro-life measure.”

Planned Parenthood teamed up with the ACLU to seek a federal injunction that will permit women to continue to seek abortion under circumstances that are already among the most restrictive in the country.

“Everyone knows that you cannot prohibit abortion,” said Ken Falk of the ACLU, “but yet we still have a piece of legislation that explicitly prohibits abortion under certain circumstances.”

Indiana Right to Life accused Planned Parenthood of economic motives. CEO Mike Fichter said, “This is the same song and dance we have seen from the abortion provider anytime they fell their lucrative abortion business is threatened.”

“The ACLU stands firmly against discrimination in all forms, but that isn’t what this law is about,” said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. “Unnecessary restrictions, like those recently signed into law, demean women and threaten the quality of their health care. The ACLU of Indiana will continue to work to ensure that every woman can make the best decision for herself and her family about whether and when to continue a pregnancy without undue political interference.”

“This law is clearly another attempt by the governor to end access to safe, legal abortions by imposing more unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions on women, our health care centers and our staff,” said Betty Cockrum, CEO and President of PPINK. “The law limits women’s rights and shames them during this difficult decision by calling their motives into question.”

“It’s time for Governor Pence to get out of our doctor’s offices, and stay out of our doctor’s offices.”

A spokeswoman for the governor said that Mike Pence believes the bill enhances protections for the unborn.

Stephanie Hodgin said that “Governor Pence has every confidence this law is constitutional.”

It came as no surprise at Planned Parenthood.

“Here in Indiana we have a governor,” said Cockrum, “who finds his own personal views on these things and his own personal ideology more important than good public health policy and constitutional behavior.”

The new law also requires that fetal remains be buried or cremated. North Dakota is the only state with a similar law.

The request for an injunction to block it has been sent to Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.