Legal Issues and Lawsuits and Courts and Law

Federal judge blocks new nonsurgical abortion law

November 26, 2013

A federal judge has blocked a new Indiana law set to take effect on Jan. 1 that would have effectively shut down Lafayette's only abortion clinic.

U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on Tuesday blocked the start of the new law while she considers a challenge filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. The ACLU is challenging a set of rules passed by Republican lawmakers earlier this year mandating that clinics that perform nonsurgical abortions by dispensing an abortion pill meet the same standards as those that perform surgical abortions.

The law would effectively shut down the only abortion clinic in Lafayette, a city of about 68,000, by requiring that it add things such as a recovery room and surgical equipment. Lawyers for the ACLU argued the state law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause. The ACLU also argued that the new law was similar to other laws that federal courts have struck down.

Lawyers for the state argued the law is a valid product of the General Assembly.

"This new law reflects the policy judgment of Indiana legislators elected by our citizens," Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

He said because of the narrow ruling his office will consult with state lawmakers before deciding how to proceed.

Arguments on the preliminary injunction motion were heard Oct. 30.

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