A federal judge has ordered the attorney general’s office to pay the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana more than $180,000 in legal fees for successfully challenging the 2016 genetic abnormality abortion law enacted by now-Vice President Mike Pence.
As an incentive to challenge potentially unconstitutional statutes, federal law allows judges to require the government to pay a plaintiff’s legal fees.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ordered a payment total of $182,499 to the ACLU of Indiana for its legal work on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.
Pratt blocked the Indiana law after Planned Parenthood requested a preliminary injunction arguing the law was unconstitutional and violated women’s privacy rights.
The law would have banned abortions sought because of a fetus’ genetic abnormalities, genetic diseases or physical deformities. The statute also prohibited women from obtaining an abortion due to the gender, race, color, national origin or ancestry of the fetus.
But Pratt ruled that established law allows women to have an abortion for any reason prior to fetal viability.
The federal trial court in Indianapolis, federal appeals court in Chicago, and the U.S. Supreme Court all refused to allow a key provision of the law to take effect, The Northwest Times reported.
The nation’s high court, however, did permit a separate provision of the law requiring abortion providers to pay to bury or cremate any embryonic or fetal remains in their possession.
“In light of the fetal remains discovered in Illinois, we are especially grateful that the Supreme Court reversed the district court’s earlier decision that purported to invalidate Indiana’s fetal-remains law,” according to a statement from the Indiana Attorney General’s office.
According to an analysis of state spending records by The Times, Indiana paid more than $3 million to the ACLU between 2011 and 2020 following the group’s successful challenges to unconstitutional state laws.