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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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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Five Quick Facts About The Indiana SCOTUS Ruling

1. The Supreme Court ruled on two separate parts of Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act (HEA 1337) signed into law by then-Governor Mike Pence in 2016:

1) The requirement that aborted babies be treated humanely by disposition of burial or cremation; and

2) A prohibition on abortions solely for the purpose of an unborn child’s race, sex, national origin, potential disability or Down syndrome.

2. The Court reversed a Seventh Circuit ruling that blocked Indiana law requiring the humane disposal of aborted babies through burial or cremation. Since 1973 and until this ruling, aborted babies in Indiana have been treated as common medical waste or garbage. One former abortion clinic employee testified before an Indiana legislative committee that she watched aborted babies being flushed down a drain into the Indianapolis sewer system.

3. The Supreme Court decided not to consider the issue concerning the civil rights protections, but did leave the issue open for future consideration, noting, “Our opinion likewise expresses no view on the merits of the second question presented, i.e., whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex, race, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers. Only the Seventh Circuit has thus far addressed this kind of law. We follow our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal issues that have not been considered by additional Courts of Appeals.”

4. The Court’s opinion was issued per curiam, meaning an opinion by the Court as a whole that does not identify any particular justice as the author. Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion while Justice Ginsberg wrote a dissenting and concurring opinion stating she would have denied Indiana’s petition for review in its entirety. Justice Sotomayor stated separately that she would have denied the petition in its entirety.

5. The Court is also expected to decide soon if it will hear Indiana’s appeal on another provision of HEA 1337 requiring that a woman considering an abortion be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound provision is currently blocked by the Seventh Circuit, leading to a rise in abortions in Indiana.