Judge Strikes Down Indiana Abortion Clinic Law

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A federal district court judge has struck down parts of an Indiana abortion law as unconstitutional.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled on Wednesday that the 2013 law changing the classification of abortion clinics in the state violated the equal protection rights guaranteed in the US Constitution.

The law redefined facilities that only perform drug-induced abortions as “abortion clinics”, which provide surgical abortions.

The change in definition would have necessitated extensive renovations at a Lafayette-based Planned Parenthood clinic. The clinic was the only one in the state affected by the law and does not apply to private physicians, leading critics to argue that the law was written to shutter the clinic.

The court found that the Indiana law “allows the State to arbitrarily divide medication abortion providers into two groups — ‘abortion clinics’ and undefined ‘physician’s offices’ — and treat those groups differently, without a rational basis for doing so, by requiring ‘abortion clinics’ but not ‘physician’s offices’ to meet the physical plant requirements at issue.”

“The consequence is that the Lafayette (clinic) must either comply with certain physical plant requirements that previously only applied to surgical abortion providers, or stop providing medication abortions. No ‘physician’s office’ faces the same choice.”

The law was stopped from going into effect during a prior hearing. The state has not determined if it will appeal the ruling.

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