Indiana News

Federal judge strikes down several Indiana laws restricting abortion, upholds significant portions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal judge in Indianapolis has struck down several parts of Indiana’s abortion laws — but left major portions in tact.

The ruling came down Tuesday afternoon from Judge Sarah Evans Barker.

The restrictions that have been overturned include a ban on telemedicine in abortion, the requirement for in-person counseling and the mandatory disclosure on fetal pain. Those have all been declared unconstitutional.

Barker did uphold other major portions of Indiana’s abortion laws, including the requirement for an ultrasound, requiring an 18-hour delay before having an abortion procedure and the parental consent law. All of those have been ruled constitutional and remain in effect.

The ruling comes as part of a 2018 lawsuit fighting the denial of a license to open an abortion clinic in South Bend that wanted nearly all Indiana abortion laws overturned. The case is almost certain to be appealed.


“Today’s mixed decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Rokita only strengthens our resolve to keep fighting for the lives of unborn children and the health of mothers.

“We are grateful the district court upheld Indiana’s eminently reasonable laws requiring ultrasounds, limiting surgical abortions to licensed physicians, ensuring pre-abortion counseling sessions are provided by physicians or advanced-practice clinicians, and imposing criminal penalties for violations of abortion laws.

“Unfortunately, elsewhere in its decision the district court invalidated a handful of Indiana laws even though doing so contradicts binding precedent, including a Seventh Circuit decision that upheld the very same in-person-counseling Indiana law that the district court invalidated today.

“We will continue to fight to defend Indiana’s commonsense abortion laws and to build a culture of life in Indiana.”

Todd Rokita, Indiana attorney general, on Facebook

“This is a horrific ruling that will directly lead to a massive expansion of chemical and late term abortions in Indiana. The sweeping blockage of these common sense laws jeopardizes the health and safety of women, leaves women in the dark on issues of fetal pain and the development of human life, and places communities like Fort Wayne and Evansville clearly in the crosshairs for abortion business expansion. This is judicial activism at its absolute worst.”  

Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president

“It is deeply disappointing that the U.S. District Court struck down several commonsense, pro-life provisions in Indiana state law that were designed to protect women and children. Pro-life Hoosier lawmakers have worked hard to pass laws that protect the unborn and most vulnerable among us. The U.S. Constitution clearly safeguards life, and it’s my hope that this decision will be appealed. Every human life is a gift, and I will continue to support protections for the unborn.”

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from Elkhart, Indiana

News 8 has reached out to Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky for comment but have not received a response.