Photo: Kenneth Hagemeyer / Flickr
A federal judge Tuesday halted enforcement of an Indiana law that would impose new requirements on abortion clinics that provide only chemical, and not surgical, abortions.
The General Assembly passed legislation in 2013 requiring abortion clinics that dispense the abortion-inducing drug known as RU-486 to comply with strict surgical facility standards, even if those clinics don’t perform surgical abortions.
The law’s requirements do not extend to the offices of private physicians who administer the drug, so it only affects one existing location – a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette.
ACLU legal director Ken Falk, who represents Planned Parenthood, says the judge halted the law because it imposes a double standard.
“What she said was that it is fundamentally irrational – or we are likely to be able to demonstrate that it is fundamentally irrational – and a violation of equal protection where you have a statute which imposes this requirement that a clinic that only hands out medication must comply with surgical requirements but a doctor’s office – which does exactly the same thing – does not under the statute,” he says.
In a statement, the Indiana Attorney General described the ruling as “narrow” and says he will consult with lawmakers and decide how to proceed in the case.
“This new law reflects the policy judgment of Indiana legislators elected by our citizens,” Greg Zoeller said in the statement. ” The Court’s decision faulting the law for treating nonsurgical abortion clinics different from physicians’ offices must be thoroughly reviewed.