Abortion drop expected as Indiana ultrasound law goes back into effect

Indiana Right to Life anticipates a significant drop in abortions in the new year as a result of Indiana’s  18-hour ultrasound law going back in effect on January 1.  The action is the result of Indiana’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, dropping its suit against the law in August 2020.

The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, requires that women considering abortion be provided the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was previously in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, after the ultrasound provision was blocked by a federal judge.  During the 2017 period, abortions spiked by 13 percent.

“Indiana’s ultrasound law will save lives,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Every woman deserves the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of her unborn baby in order to have ample opportunity to reconsider an abortion decision.”

Fichter believes the timing is right for the Indiana legislature to take additional action to ensure abortion businesses are following the intent and the letter of the ultrasound law.

“Every woman should be provided with a photo of her baby’s ultrasound that she can take with her,” says Fichter.  “In addition, a copy of her baby’s ultrasound photo should be attached to her patient files to assist state health and safety inspectors in verifying the law is being met.  Currently, neither of these actions are required by law.  These are loopholes the Indiana legislature can easily close.”

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A Special Christmas Message From Our President And CEO

Full disclosure – it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched a full episode of the evening news. It’s not that I’m uninformed.  Like tens of millions of Americans, and perhaps just like you, my mobile news feed provides far more information from sources I know and trust, meaning the days are long gone when I count on networks to filter and present their particular versions of what they think I should know.  The same can be said of printed news.  As far as I can recall, the only newspaper I purchased this year was the Thanksgiving edition, and that was for the purpose of viewing ads for Black Friday sales, which turned out to be the same sales going on since late October.  That was a quick read.

So it was of little surprise to me when, just two weeks ago, I took a step of faith and tuned in to a local news broadcast in hopes of hearing something uplifting at the end of a year which has been anything but.  Less than ten minutes later, the experiment ended and the TV was off.  Even now, when we all need encouragement, comfort, and a reason to believe there’s more to life than perpetual chaos, the bad news is what we are forced to endure.  Even at Christmas.  Even at the time of year which has traditionally been the most joyous holiday for generations of Americans.

It’s almost as if a cancel culture world is turning its sights on what it hopes will finally extinguish the greatest cultural influencer in all of human history – the Child, born of a virgin, who came to give us all the only real hope we will ever have.

There is no surprise here.  For many decades, the perception of what Christmas means has shifted in American culture.  Some attempts to change the holiday’s name have not fared terribly well, such as changing the name of a Christmas tree to a “holiday” tree.  A more effective strategy has been to let the name of the holiday stand while rebranding it as a season of romance, snowflakes, and magical moments.   Call it what you will, as long as it doesn’t point to a Messiah, to the one named Jesus.

But to the more aggressive, the time has come to drive coffin nails into the manger, once and for all.

Others have tried to do the same for over two thousand years.  All of them have failed.

Now, if Christmas were a myth, if it were no more than a fantastic tale passed down from generation to generation, with no connection to historical truth, then Christmas indeed is in danger of being scrubbed in deference to, say, a winter solstice celebration.

But the truth of Christmas is far deeper than any myth might dare claim.

Who could have dreamed that after four hundred years of prophetic silence, a young virgin would be visited by an angel announcing she would be with child?

Who could have arranged for a Roman census to be issued resulting in Joseph, Mary, and the unborn baby Jesus traveling to Bethlehem and arriving just in time for the baby to be born?

Who could have supposed that a King would exchange His throne for a feeding trough?

Who could have ordered the night sky to be filled with heavenly hosts declaring the Savior had come?

Who could have chosen lowly shepherds, instead of the rich and the powerful, to be the first to receive the good news?

Who could have imagined the Child would change the world and fulfill over 300 prophecies?

Who could have dared to believe that the One, who at birth was wrapped in swaddling cloths, would one day be wrapped in a scarlet robe, beaten, stripped, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross?

Who could have known the entire mission of the baby born in Bethlehem, on that very first Christmas, was to pay sin’s debt in full for all who will believe in Him?

Who could have guessed the Creator of life would prove His power over death, for all eternity, by rising from the dead and leaving behind an empty tomb?

The stuff of mere myth?  Not for the apostles who physically walked with Him, knew Him, witnessed His resurrection, and gave their lives as martyrs.  No one does that for a myth.

Nor for the millions of believers throughout the centuries, up to the very hour you are reading this, who are outcast, beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for the sake of the One whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day.

Trying to cancel Christmas is nothing new.  Herod the Great, Nero, Stalin, Mao, and all tyrants like them have tried and failed, because Christmas is far greater than any of them ever comprehended.  Empires, and regimes come and go.  The truth and hope of Christmas still remains.

Can you cancel culture?  Maybe.  But you can never cancel the Truth the abides in hearts of all who believe.  You can’t cancel Christmas because you can’t cancel Jesus.

I don’t know what headlines will dominate tonight’s evening news, but I do know what a hurting world needs to hear, now more than ever:

Rejoice, for the Savior is come!

It is on this simple yet profound declaration that I place my hope this Christmas, and I sincerely hope that you do as well.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

Mike Fichter
President and CEO


AG candidate Weinzapfel backed by Indiana’s largest abortion business

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life today is alerting voters that Indiana’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, has endorsed Jonathan Weinzapfel, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.  Planned Parenthood currently operates abortion clinics in Merrillville, Lafayette, Indianapolis, and Bloomington.

“It is remarkable that a business suing the state of Indiana over multiple pro-life laws is endorsing Weinzapfel to be the top attorney representing Indiana in the courts,” states Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.  “We can only conclude that Weinzapfel would not defend Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts, nor would he recognize the rights of unborn children in any way.”

“Planned Parenthood makes millions every year from killing unborn children in our state, and now they want Weinzapfel as attorney general to ensure that its business continues,” says Fichter.  “The attorney general’s job is to defend Indiana law, not to do the bidding of the multimillion dollar abortion industry.”

Weinzapfel is challenging Republican Todd Rokita who has been endorsed by the Indiana Right to Life PAC.


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Indiana Right to Life launches #PledgeToVote campaign

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life today launched its #PledgeToVote campaign urging supporters to contact at least five pro-life family members and friends and urge them to vote.

The centerpiece of the campaign is an online pledge where supporters can add their names and show their readiness to take action.

“We are urging our supporters to go the extra mile in helping to turn out a huge pro-life vote this year,” states Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “It’s easy to just sit back and watch Fox News and CNN, or to listen to the political pundits. But none of that will have the impact of friends and family making personal connections.  Our goal is to produce a pro-life landslide in Indiana.”

Fichter notes that the pro-life community is energized and that he is confident the #PledgeToVote campaign will give Hoosiers a meaningful and motivating form of engagement all the way through the November 3 elections.

“Unborn children have no voice,” says Fichter.  “Our votes must be a voice for them.”


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Indiana Right to Life PAC Endorses Todd Rokita For Attorney General

Indianapolis –Indiana Right to Life PAC today announced its endorsement of Todd Rokita for Attorney General.  Rokita is a long-time advocate for the unborn, compiling a 100% pro-life voting record as a member of Congress.  In addition, Rokita was endorsed by IRTL-PAC during his two terms as Secretary of State.

Rokita’s voting record in Congress includes:

  • Voting for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to establish a permanent, government-wide policy against funding for abortions.
  • Voting for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to generally prohibit abortion after 20 weeks fetal age and to provide substantial new protections for infants born alive during abortions.
  • Voting for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to enact an explicit requirement that a baby born alive during an abortion must be afforded the same degree of care that would be afforded to any other child born alive.
  • Voting for passage of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act to prohibit federal funds from going to America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood.
  • Voting to amend federal law to clarify that states may, at their option, exclude abortion providers from the federal-state Medicaid program.

“Todd Rokita is the pro-life choice for attorney general,” states Indiana Right to Life PAC chairman Mike Fichter.  “We have absolute certainty that he will strongly defend Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts, including future laws as well as those laws already being challenged in the federal courts.”


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Indiana Right to Life PAC Endorses Governor Eric Holcomb

Indianapolis – Indiana Right to Life PAC today announced its endorsement of Governor Eric Holcomb for reelection. Governor Holcomb’s pro-life track record during his first term includes the signing of eight pro-life bills, record-setting adoption levels for children in foster care, lowered infant mortality rates, and strong support for Indiana’s Real Alternatives program providing free, compassionate assistance to needy women and their babies, from pregnancy through the babies’ first birthdays.

“Governor Holcomb has signed every single pro-life bill that has come across his desk, including historic legislation to ban late-term abortions and to expand Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana,” states Indiana Right to Life PAC chairman Mike Fichter. “We know that compassion for children, born and unborn, is deeply important to him, and we look forward to working with him to advance the cause of life to much higher levels over the next four years.”

Governor Holcomb’s extensive pro-life record includes:

• 2017 – Gov. Holcomb signed SEA 404 into law enhancing parental rights to be notified when a minor seeks a judicial bypass to get an abortion while allowing civil recourse for parents if an adult falsely claims to have parental rights for the minor. The law also tightens reporting requirements for abortions on girls under 16 years of age.

• 2018 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 203 that allows murder or manslaughter charges to be brought against any criminal who kills an unborn child during the committing a felony.

• 2018 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 65 giving parents greater control over whether children are exposed to Planned Parenthood-style sex ed courses in the schools.

• 2018 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 340 that pave the way for Safe Haven Baby Boxes, toughens abortion clinic licensing requirements in Indiana, and requires reporting of abortion complications.

• 2019 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law HEA 1211 to ban late-term D&E abortions in Indiana.

• 2019 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 201 to strengthen conscience protections for pro-life health care workers.

• 2019 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law HEA 1007 creating better prenatal health care for at-risk pregnant moms.

• 2020 – Gov. Holcomb signed into law SEA 299 to strengthen humane final disposition laws for aborted babies.

• Indiana’s Real Alternatives Program – From 2017 through 2020, Gov. Holcomb has authorized Indiana’s Real Alternatives program helping participating pro-life pregnancy resources centers throughout the state to meet the needs of tens of thousands of pregnant women and their babies all the way through baby’s first birthday, at no cost to the mothers.

Fichter also notes that under Governor Holcomb, the number of abortions dropped by 400 babies from 2018 to 2019, part of the reason Indiana is now ranked as the sixth most pro-life state in the nation by Americans United for Life.

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Indiana’s 18-Hour Ultrasound Law To Go Back Into Effect After State’s Largest Abortion Business Drops Suit

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s 18-hour ultrasound law will go back into effect on January 1, 2021, as a result of Indiana’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, conceding it will not win its suit which has blocked the law since 2017. The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, requires that women considering abortion be provided the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.

A significant decline in abortions is expected in Indiana as a result of the ultrasound law going back into effect. From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, when the ultrasound provision was blocked and abortions spiked to a 13 percent increase.

The concession underscores that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU did not feel they could win the suit in the Seventh Circuit in the wake of this summer’s June Medical Services vs. Russo decision by the Supreme Court. Two days after the June Medical Services ruling, the Court vacated a previous Seventh Circuit ruling blocking the ultrasound law and remanded the case back to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration.

On August 7, the impact of the June Medical Services ruling was felt as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were dealt a blow by the Eighth Circuit when it lifted injunctions against multiple pro-life laws in Arkansas.

“Indiana’s ultrasound law will save lives,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Women deserve the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of their unborn baby at least 18-hours before an abortion in order to have ample opportunity to reconsider an abortion. In the brief time this law was in effect in 2016, abortions dropped sharply in Indiana, only to rise quickly as soon as the law was blocked. Now we hope to see abortions drop once again, this time for the long term. We regret, however, that this life-saving law will not go back into effect until January.”

In a release earlier today, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill stated, ““For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling. Anyone interested in protecting women’s health, including their mental health, should support giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision-making. Empowering women with knowledge is fully consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

Fichter is skeptical of Planned Parenthood’s claim that new ultrasound equipment at its office in Fort Wayne drove its decision to drop the suit. “Planned Parenthood is dropping this suit because it fears it won’t win now that the new standard of June Medical Services is being applied by the courts,” Fichter notes. “This move is to cut legal costs in what it knows will be a losing battle. The courts have clearly abandoned the Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt framework from 2016, and that’s great news for pro-life laws moving forward.”

Fichter also raised deep concern that the move is just another step in the direction of Planned Parenthood attempting to operate an abortion business in Fort Wayne, stating, “With Planned Parenthood, connecting the dots means it always comes back to the business of abortion. Always.”

When asked by the Seattle Times in 2019 if Planned Parenthood intends to do abortions in Fort Wayne, its CEO Chris Charbonneau replied, “Absolutely”.

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Senator Mike Braun calls for an end to tax breaks for abortion under the guise of healthcare

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Right to Life is applauding Senator Mike Braun’s leadership in calling for an end to tax breaks for abortion.  In a letter sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week, Sen. Braun and 102 other congressional members call for new regulations, stating, “Abortion is not health care.  Any procedure for which a successful outcome depends on the death of a living human being, born or unborn, cannot be considered health care.”

The letter continues: “The IRS’ treatment of amounts paid for abortion (except when the mother’s life is physically endangered) as medical care under §213(d)(1)(A) is wrongheaded and contrary to the law. By extension, it is similarly wrong for the IRS to treat premiums for health insurance that covers such abortions as medical care under §213(d)(1)(D) without following the law’s strict separate accounting requirements for coverage of non-medical care under §213(d)(6). We urge you to take swift action to issue new regulations to protect innocent human life by ending tax breaks for abortion under the guise of medical care.”

Read the full letter here

Indiana congressional members co-signing Sen. Braun’s letter include Rep. Jim Banks and Rep. Jackie Walorski.

“We thank Sen. Braun, Rep. Banks, and Rep. Walorski for helping bring tissue to light and hope the appeal will be the beginning of the end for tax breaks for abortion,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter.

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United States Supreme Court remands Indiana ultrasound, parental notification appeals to Seventh Circuit; cert denied in South Bend abortion clinic licensing appeal

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The United States Supreme Court today took action on three Indiana appeals over abortion-related cases.

In two separate Indiana appeals, the Court granted a writ of certiorari. The judgments in these two cases are vacated and both remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for further consideration in light of the June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo decision issued Monday.

One of the cases involves Indiana law requiring the notification of parents when a minor daughter seeks a judicial bypass to have an abortion. This law is blocked by the Seventh Circuit.

The second case, involves Indiana law requiring that women seeking abortions be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. This law is also blocked by the Seventh Circuit.

In a third appeal, the Court denied cert in a case involving the licensing of the Whole Women’s Health Association abortion clinic in South Bend. The denial of cert means the South Bend abortion clinic can continue to operate as its suit against multiple Indiana pro-life laws goes forward in the courts. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill argued a federal judge’s order allowing the clinic to operate without a state license is unconstitutional.

“We are very disappointed in the Court’s denial of Indiana’s licensing appeal, but are cautiously optimistic that the ultrasound and parental notification appeals will find success in the Seventh Circuit”, states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “We are very thankful for the relentless effort Attorney General Curtis Hill has given to defending Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts.”

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Four hundred fewer children aborted in Indiana in 2019 according to new Indiana Department of Health report

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Four hundred fewer children were aborted in Indiana in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the Indiana Terminated Pregnancy Report 2019 released yesterday by the Indiana State Department of Health. The report shows 7,637 abortions in 2019, a 5% decrease from the 8,037 abortions reported in 2018. The drop in abortions ends a two-year period of increases in Indiana and is the lowest total abortions reported in Indiana since 2016.
The new report shows chemical abortions continue to rise in Indiana, with 44% of abortions now being reported as “medical” (41% in 2018) with 56% being reported as surgical (59% in 2018). The report also reveals the continuation of a disproportionately high percentage of abortions on Black/African-American women, comprising just under 32% of abortions in Indiana, while dropping slightly among Latino/Hispanic women.
Planned Parenthood remains by far the largest abortion business in Indiana with 57% of abortions. Whole Women’s Health, allowed to open in South Bend without a license through the order of a federal judge in 2019, reported 138 abortions. Marion County reported the most abortions at 5,669 followed by Lake County at 994 abortions and Monroe County at 816 abortions.  Tippecanoe County showed a large drop in abortions from 196 in 2018 to 20 in 2019, likely due to the lack of an abortion doctor working in that county for most of 2019.
Eskenazi Hospital reported 34 abortions, while Indiana University Health Methodist reported 17 abortions and Indiana University Health North Hospital reported 1 abortion.
Non-Indiana resident abortions dropped by 156 in 2019.
“While we cannot specifically point to any one reason why abortion numbers dropped overall in 2019, we are encouraged in knowing that 400 fewer children were aborted in Indiana last year. That’s the equivalent of an entire graduating class in many Indiana high schools,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. ““Yet our hearts are still broken knowing that 7,637 children were denied the right to be born, and an untold number of women now bear the physical, emotional and spiritual burdens of those abortion decisions. Meanwhile, abortion businesses in Indiana continue to enjoy a multi million-dollar revenue stream at the expense of innocent babies. The lives of all unborn children matter. We will continue to work for the day when not a single abortion is done in our state.”
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