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Judge strikes down Indiana abortion complications report law

U.S. District Judge Richard Young’s ruling Wednesday that the law was unconstitutional came two years after Young granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect following its 2018 passage.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 5:32 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has struck down an Indiana law that aimed to require reports from medical providers to the state if they treat women for complications arising from abortions.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young’s ruling Wednesday that the law was unconstitutional came two years after Young granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect following its 2018 passage.

Young sided with Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky in its challenge to the law, which lists 26 physical or psychological conditions that could trigger the reporting requirement for doctors or clinics.

The law made failure to do so a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Young ruled that the law was “unconstitutionally vague,” writing that it gave doctors no clear guidance on questions such as how long after an abortion they would need to report a woman’s depression or trouble with a later pregnancy.

“The statute simply lacks any standard to guide physicians in determining whether a condition qualifies as an abortion complication for purposes of reporting,” Young wrote. “The indeterminacy of the statute’s requirements denies fair notice to physicians and invites arbitrary enforcement by prosecutors.”

The state attorney general’s office defended the law, telling Young that the reporting requirement “serves the public interest by collecting comprehensive data on the complications that may result from abortion and the frequency of those complications.”

Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement Thursday that his office would “continue defending Indiana’s commonsense laws regulating the abortion industry.”

Hannah Brass Greer, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said the reporting requirement “has no basis in science and medicine.”

“The reporting requirements set by this law are another attempt by Indiana politicians to shame and stigmatize people seeking abortion services and to spread the myth that abortion is dangerous,” she said in a statement.

Young upheld another provision in the 2018 law that requires annual inspections of abortion clinics.

Planned Parenthood argued that the law would treat abortion clinics unfairly because hospitals and surgery centers would not face the same requirement.

But Young cited the state’s argument that such annual inspections might have uncovered misconduct earlier by Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who operated abortion clinics in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend before his medical license was revoked in 2015.

After Klopfer died last year, authorities found more than 2,400 preserved sets of fetal remains at his suburban Chicago properties.

Young ruled that Planned Parenthood’s equal protection rights weren’t violated because “the state has offered a rational reason for the decision to subject abortion clinics to stricter inspection requirements.”

The complications reporting requirement is just the latest abortion restriction passed by the Republican-led Legislature to get struck down in recent years.

A federal judge last year blocked the state’s ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure that the legislation called “dismemberment abortion.”

The U.S. Supreme Court last year also rejected Indiana’s appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the state’s ban on abortion based on gender, race or disability.

However, it upheld a portion of the 2016 law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains after an abortion.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1717876

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1793291843
Cuyahoga1681592655
Hamilton1137721544
Montgomery805721405
Summit719531210
Lucas630291027
Butler56852814
Stark538501183
Lorain42330645
Warren35959417
Mahoning35798788
Lake32314501
Clermont31289369
Trumbull27344620
Delaware27206185
Licking26658344
Medina26042353
Fairfield24638287
Greene24378373
Clark22122390
Portage21257283
Richland21102342
Wood20128248
Allen18969326
Miami17338352
Columbiana16905335
Muskingum16726207
Wayne15740307
Tuscarawas14454362
Marion13332196
Ashtabula12732237
Erie12685199
Scioto12475188
Pickaway12260155
Ross11719226
Hancock11529175
Geauga10934179
Lawrence10653172
Belmont10459234
Huron9805159
Jefferson9632228
Union957375
Sandusky9348166
Seneca8917161
Knox8792176
Washington8688159
Darke8399181
Athens838197
Ashland8029152
Auglaize7943120
Shelby7511135
Defiance7358117
Crawford7281150
Fulton7215113
Brown7173116
Logan7003111
Guernsey696186
Mercer6933100
Highland6745120
Clinton6526106
Williams650099
Madison649790
Preble6274140
Putnam6244122
Jackson581597
Champaign580887
Perry566779
Coshocton5645108
Ottawa5641102
Morrow517765
Fayette494072
Hardin4895100
Gallia471478
Van Wert467895
Pike465578
Adams4592110
Henry434280
Hocking410193
Holmes3999141
Wyandot377675
Carroll366178
Paulding325451
Meigs305961
Monroe235961
Noble220349
Morgan216939
Harrison213153
Vinton187638
Unassigned06
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