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Judge hears challenge to Indiana abortion limits

16 June 2017

Planned Parenthood of IN and Kentucky say portions of the new law are unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood of IN and Kentucky argued before a federal judge Tuesday that portions of the state's new parental notice requirements are unconstitutional and place an undue burden on minors seeking abortions. Planned Parenthood argues that infringes on free speech rights. And federal judge Sarah Evans Barker seemed to agree, saying the "phraseology defies a clear stab" at what the statute requires.

Texas last month sought a waiver to restore millions of federal Medicaid dollars blocked under President Barack Obama in 2011, after the state's family planning program booted Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Fisher said he understood Planned Parenthood's vagueness concerns.

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Another provision bars anyone from helping a pregnant minor get an abortion without consent.

But Judge Barker noted it applies to more than physicians and medical staff, remarking to Fisher, "Whoa, that's a little broad".

Under existing IN law, girls younger than 18 must either get their parents' consent to have an abortion or seek permission from a judge.

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The other provision Planned Parenthood seeks to halt deals with what's called "parental notification".

Under current IN law, girls under 18 must either get their parents' consent to have an abortion or seek a judge's permission.

Along similar lines, PPINK challenges a portion of SEA 404 that would require physicians performing abortions on unemancipated minors to obtain not only written consent from a parent, but also a government-issued ID of the parent and "some evidence" that the adult is, in fact, the parent or legal guardian of the minor. Fisher's essential argument is that the law must take effect first to find out whether there's any actual harm caused.

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Barker said she'll rule on the injunction request before July 1, when the law passed by Indiana's Republican-dominated Legislature takes effect.

Judge hears challenge to Indiana abortion limits