Planned Parenthood & Indiana Ultrasound Law: Abortion Provider Withdraws Lawsuit

For a few years, Planned Parenthood has been embroiled in legal battles with Indiana over several of the state’s abortion regulations. One of those fights has to do with a law that requires women to obtain an ultrasound at least 18 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure.

Planned Parenthood has a long history of challenging even the most innocuous pro-life laws, including those that require a 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion or parental-consent laws for minors seeking an abortion. Unsurprisingly, the local Planned Parenthood affiliate objected to Indiana’s ultrasound policy on the grounds that it would impose a burden on women who live far away from abortion clinics.

In 2017, a district court in Indiana granted Planned Parenthood a preliminary injunction, preventing the law from taking effect, and the following year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. Indiana appealed to the Supreme Court and in July the Court granted cert, vacated the Seventh Circuit’s ruling, and remanded the case to be reconsidered in light of this summer’s ruling in June Medical Services v. Russo.

But now that reconsideration won’t be necessary, as Planned Parenthood has agreed to abide by the ultrasound law, which is set to take effect in January. According to court documents, that decision was based in part on the fact that Planned Parenthood had, in the interim, added “a new ultrasound machine at a new clinic in Fort Wayne.”

Though Indiana has had to waste several years on costly legal battles — years during which the state was prohibited from enforcing its law — this is a small pro-life victory, as it will allow each woman the opportunity to see her unborn child before making the final decision to have an abortion. It is telling, however, that abortion providers who place so much emphasis on the importance of a woman’s choice would be so opposed her making that choice in as informed a way as possible.

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