Indiana University to file new suit against abortion law

Keywords Law / Lawsuits / Legal Issues

Indiana University intends to sue to try and block a new state law mandating that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated after a federal judge blocked its bid to join an existing lawsuit, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch invited IU to bring its claims against the law in its own lawsuit in an 11-page order denying the university's bid to intervene in a complaint filed last month by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

IU intends to file its own lawsuit "immediately," spokeswoman Margie Smith-Simmons said in a written statement.

"The law will institute sweeping and unconstitutional prohibitions on the acquisition and sharing of fetal tissue that would irreparably harm the university's ability to conduct important research into Alzheimer's and other devastating neurological diseases," the statement said.

The law is set to take effect July 1.

Lynch said IU raised issues separate from those of Planned Parenthood and allowing it to intervene in the existing case "would unnecessarily complicate this litigation and threaten to delay its resolution."

Planned Parenthood, which is represented by The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, contends the law is unconstitutional and violates privacy rights. A federal judge will hold a hearing June 14 to consider that lawsuit's request for an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect.

IU claimed in its motion last week seeking to join the lawsuit that the law's criminalization of acquiring, receiving, selling or transferring fetal tissue is unconstitutionally vague and would violate researchers' First Amendment right to academic freedom.

The Indiana attorney general's office had opposed IU's bid to join the Planned Parenthood case.

The new law also would ban abortions sought because of genetic abnormalities. North Dakota is the only other state with such a ban.

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