INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Attorney General Greg Zoeller asked a federal judge on
Wednesday to uphold a new law that would shut down Lafayette’s only abortion
Zoeller made the state’s case before U.S. District Judge Jane
Magnus-Stinson, who is considering a request from the American Civil
Liberties Union of Indiana to block the law before it takes effect on Jan.
1. Zoeller said the law reflects the will of Indiana citizens and that the
ACLU and others trying to stop it haven’t proven their case.
“We respectfully contend the plaintiffs have not met their burden and this
newly passed public-health statute should remain intact and no injunction
should be granted,” Zoeller said.
Indiana lawmakers approved several new requirements earlier this year for
clinics that dispense the RU-486 abortion pill, including requiring such
clinics to build separate recovery and surgical-procedure rooms and to widen
doorways. While the new law is broadly written to apply to clinics providing
just the medication and not surgical abortions, it would only apply to one
Planned Parenthood clinic, in Lafayette.
“The state is basically saying you have to have a surgical abortion clinic
in Lafayette,” said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director. “Planned
Parenthood’s position is it’s completely irrational to have something like
this when we don’t perform surgery at all.”
Nine surgical abortion clinics are currently licensed in Indiana, including
three run by Planned Parenthood, according to state records.
The ACLU also argued that the new law was similar to other laws that federal
courts have struck down.
Supporters of the new law argue that it’s needed to protect women’s health
from potentially fatal consequences after taking the abortion pill.
Opponents have called it another attempt by the state to limit abortions.
The law and subsequent lawsuit continue years of litigation between the
state and Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers approved a measure in 2011 denying
federal funding for Planned Parenthood. However, a federal administrative
ruling earlier this year and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to take
on the issue effectively left the state with no means to enforce the law.