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New Abortion Pill Law Could Face Legal Challenge

An IU law school professor says states cannot put up a "substantial undue burden" for the patient seeking an abortion.

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Photo: pasa47 (flickr)

A Planned Parenthood facility in Terre Haute.

An Indiana University Law Professor says the new bill signed into law by Governor Mike Pence regarding abortion pills could run into trouble. The bill puts extra requirements on facilities that offer the abortion pill but not surgical abortions.

McKinney School of Law Professor David Orentlicher says if states can show that the building and equipment standards serve a legitimate medical purpose, that is okay. However, Orentlicher says if the standards don‘t serve a legitimate medical purpose and just make it more difficult and costly to get an abortion, then that is an undue burden according to the Supreme Court.

The bill also states that the abortion pill cannot be given to a woman nine weeks pregnant or more. Orentlicher says that could interfere with medical judgment of viability of a fetus which, according to the Supreme Court, states cannot do.

“If that’s inconsistent with good medical judgment and good medical practice then the Court would say physicians have to be able to tailor their practice to the specific needs of the particular patient that they are treating,” Orentlicher says.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is threatening a lawsuit stating that these standards requirements would shut down a clinic in Lafayette.

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