INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As Planned Parenthood and the ACLU celebrated a judge’s decision to block an Indiana abortion law, lawmakers and pro-life groups urge the state to fight back.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a temporary injunction to block a new Indiana law that makes it harder for minors to get an abortion. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana argued against the law in mid-June.
On Thursday, the groups didn’t mince words about the law’s language.
“The persons in the Statehouse who think it’s OK to put these things into law have no notion of what [young women are] going through,” Betty Cockrum, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said.
The law allows parents to get notified if their child wants an abortion. In court, the state argued it’s allowed to be tougher on minors, and this is a parental rights issue.
On Thursday, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill issued a statement.
The challenge of this law is nothing more than an attempt to give courts rather than parents the legal guardianship of children. When an unemancipated minor undergoes even the most basic medical procedures, the involvement of a parent or legal guardian is typically required. However, for the time being, Wednesday’s injunction essentially encourages a minor to go it alone through the emotionally and physically overwhelming procedure of aborting a human being. We will always support the authority of parents to know what is going on with their children and continue to defend Hoosier parents.”
He’s not the only one upset. The law’s author, state Sen. Erin Houchin, a Republican from Salem, issued a statement.
This issue isn’t about women seeking abortions. It’s about minor children seeking abortions and the rights of their parents to be involved in that very serious health care decision, which can have a lasting psychological impact. I am disappointed and troubled to see the court put the liberal abortion agenda ahead of parental rights, and I hope Indiana continues to defend this law.”
Judge Barker, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in her briefing that “when it comes to our children, while parents or others entrusted with their care and well being have the lawful and moral obligation always to act in their best interests, children are not bereft of separate identities, interests, and legal standing.”
Ken Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana, said, “I think that we made various points, and I think she agreed with most of them so obviously it was a good read as far as I was concerned.”
Indiana Right to Life doesn’t see it that way. Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and CEO, said, “Hoosiers are tired of seeing activist judges legislate abortion from the bench. Planned Parenthood runs straight to the courts anytime they find a law they don’t like. Planned Parenthood is not winning in the court of public opinion and their clients are leaving them in droves, but they can always count on the judicial branch to hand them a victory.”
Being only a temporary injunction, both sides know more court hearings — or legislation — could be looming.
Falk said, “Hopefully, a lesson will be learned here, but experience dictates otherwise, in my opinion, so we’ll see.”
The attorney general’s office will have a month to decide if it will appeal.
The latest Indiana Department of Health report from 2015 shows minor abortions make up about 3 percent of all cases. The report shows females ages 10 to 14 had 25 abortions, and women ages 15 to 17 had 219.