AG Rokita Asks Court to Review Case Involving 2017 Parental Notification Law

Indianapolis, IN – Today, Indiana Right to Life issued the following statement regarding the State of Indiana’s appeal to the Supreme Court in the case of Kristina Box, Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, et al. v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc.

IRTL’s President Mike Fichter said:

“We applaud Attorney General Rokita for appealing this case to the Supreme Court for its review and thank him for his steadfast defense of Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts. We’re cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court will resolve the split circuit as a result of its ruling in June Medical Services LLC vs. Russo, and in doing so, will uphold Indiana’s parental notification law.”

This case arose out of Senate Enrolled Act 404, a 2017 Indiana law, which required that parents be notified when a minor seeks judicial bypass to have an abortion. The law was enjoined at the district court, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction against it. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo last summer, it vacated the 7th Circuit ruling and ordered that court to revisit the suit. The 7th Circuit upheld the injunction earlier in March, and as a result, Indiana is now appealing to the Court to hear the case since there are now split circuits on the legality of parental notification.

With regards to the appeal, the State of Indiana’s petition to the Court for certiorari reads in part:

“This case presents a simple question, namely, whether States can ensure that parents of unemancipated minor children are notified of their daughters’ court-authorized abortion. But answering that seemingly direct question has plainly roiled the Seventh Circuit’s judges — regardless of how they ultimately voted — owing to the ‘not stable’ and ‘fluid’ constitutional standards application to abortion regulations.”

The state continued:

“Indeed, at least some, if not most, Seventh Circuit judges have refused to engage the issue at all because only this Court can say what ‘undue burden’ means in any given context. Accordingly, the State urges the Court to grant its petition and clarify abortion-rights doctrine, at least with respect to parental-notice laws.”

Finally, the state asks the Supreme Court to resolve the circuit split below:

“This Court, therefore, truly is ‘the only institution that can give an authoritative answer’ to the question presented. … It should do so principally to resolve a circuit split on the legality of abortion parental-notice laws, but also potentially, to clear up yet another abortion-doctrine issue over which the circuits are (already) in conflict: The meaning of June Medical and, by extension, the prevailing doctrinal standard for evaluating abortion regulations.”