Attorney General Appeals Ruling Blocking Ultrasound Law

May 1, 2017

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Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is appealing the federal ruling against a state law requiring women to wait at least 18 hours between an ultrasound and an abortion.

Prior to the 2016 Indiana anti-abortion law, women could get an ultrasound in the same visit as their abortion. The new law required that 18-hour period between the ultrasound and the procedure. Few Indiana clinics perform abortions, so that would require many Hoosier women to make two long trips.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union sued, and a federal judge recently ruled in their favor.

ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk says they’re hopeful they’ll prevail in the appeal as well.

“We think that the district court judge’s decision is sound, and we’ll await the briefing and the argument and the decision in the court of appeals,” he says.

The Indiana Right to Life is applauding the appeal.

“The pro-life community is pleased Attorney General Hill is defending our state’s common sense ultrasound law,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, in a statement. “It’s disappointing that Planned Parenthood turns to activist judges anytime they find an abortion law they don’t like.”

Separate parts of last year’s abortion law – provisions banning abortions performed because of the fetus’ characteristics and potential disability and requiring medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains – were halted by a previous ruling and have not been appealed.

Falk says an appeal did not have to be filed at this point in the case, because the ruling was a preliminary injunction, not a final decision.

“The appeal could have waited until the end of the case, but to the extent that there is a legal issue that needs to be resolved, then it makes sense to do it now and that obviously is what the Attorney General was thinking,” Falk says.

The state’s brief is due May 30.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith, Becca Costello, J.D. Gray and Sarah Neal-Estes contributed to this report.