Though abortion rights advocates are happy a federal judge has struck down a 2013 Indiana law requiring all abortion clinics to meet the same standards surgical abortion sites must meet, they say they’re still wary about what the 2015 lawmaking session may bring.
“As the press release from the Attorney General’s Office indicates, there’s nothing to stop the legislature from coming up with something else," says Ken Falk, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana’s Legal Director. He says he hopes the General Assembly’s inaction last year means legislators will stay away from trying to make small changes to the law and pass it again.
“The court entered preliminary injunction in this case preventing the law from going into effect prior to last legislative session. And the legislature did nothing to change the statute, so we’ll have to see what the legislature does during this session.”
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky President Betty Cockrum says she hopes the Indiana decision informs similar fights going on in Texas and elsewhere.
“One wants to believe that case law from one state to another and from one district to another is taken seriously, but that certainly doesn’t slow down activity at the statehouse level,” Cockrum says.
The dispute started because it could have required large-scale changes to a Lafayette clinic that performs chemical abortions, not surgical ones. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson’s ruling is the final one in the Indiana case after both sides agreed to drop the issue and jointly asked her to make her order permanent.