Planned Parenthood, solicitor general argue in court over new abortion law

Doors to the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis are shown June 13, 2017. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On July 1, several Indiana laws will go into effect, but the fate of one is now in the hands of a judge.

On Tuesday, a federal judge heard arguments about why opponents are asking for a preliminary injunction to block parts of an Indiana bill.

The legislation allows parents to get notification if their child who is younger than 17 wants an abortion. The measure overwhelmingly passed both chambers and signed by the governor.

But Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the ACLU of Indiana filed suit.

“These are not young women who are coming before a court because life is good,” Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky CEO Betty Cockrum said. “They have challenges that it’s not clear the state can contemplate and that’s unfortunate.”

Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher declined an interview after the hearing. In court, he argued the state is allowed to be tougher on minors.

He said the law helps parents because they’re informed. And since it’s not in effect yet, the opponent’s argument is based on their best guess.

For opponents, notification is not the only issue they have with the bill. They also argued medical professionals shouldn’t be required to check parental or guardian identifications before performing an abortion.

In addition to IDs, they’d have to show guardian proof. The state said a birth certificate will do. The bill also allows other options, which concerned the judge.

“You can never tell from a judge’s questions which way the judge is going,” ACLU attorney Kenneth Falk said. “The judge was exploring the various points of our briefing and you’ll have to see what happens.”

Both sides will be back in court soon. The challenge, the ACLU said, may not be its last.

“This is the third or fourth year in a row that we’re here, so we’ll have to see what next year brings,” Falk said. For now he said, they’ll focus on this case.

Another issue being challenged, allowing agencies, including Planned Parenthood, to inform teens of other state options. The bill would not allow them to do so.

The Indiana Statehouse Bureau reached out to the bill’s author, State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem), but a spokesperson was unable to provide us with an interview or statement.

No new court date was set by the judge. She’s expected to rule before July first.

Here’s an online version of the bill: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/404#document-b60839a7

Never miss another Facebook post from WISH-TV