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Planned Parenthood, ACLU Cheer Ruling Halting Ultrasound Rule

Women in Indiana no longer have to wait at least 18 hours between an ultrasound and an abortion after a recent court ruling halting part of last year’s controversial abortion law.

Prior to the 2016 Indiana anti-abortion law, women could get an ultrasound in the same visit as their abortion. Last year’s legislation required the ultrasound at least 18 hours before the abortion, meaning – as Planned Parenthood argued – that women would have to make two separate, often lengthy, trips to one of the few clinics that perform abortions.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in Friday's ruling that Indiana's mandate "creates significant financial and other burdens" on the group and its patients, particularly low-income women.

Her ruling says those women face "clearly undue" burdens, including lengthy travel to one of only six Planned Parenthood health centers that can offer an informed-consent ultrasound appointment.

ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk calls it a “strong” decision.

“We produced facts to show how this is hurting Planned Parenthood. The state, according to the court – and of course according to us – did not produce any facts to justify this additional restriction,” Falk says.

The state can appeal the judge’s decision.

In a statement, Indiana Right to Life calls the judge’s ruling “sadly predictable.” It accuses Planned Parenthood of opposing the 18-hour ultrasound requirement for financial reasons.

Separate parts of last year’s abortion law – provisions banning abortions performed because of the fetus’ characteristics and potential disability and requiring medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains – were halted by a previous ruling.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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