In a surprising turn of events, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) decided to dismiss its lawsuit challenging an Indiana law that requires abortionists to provide women with a waiting period of at least 18 hours after an ultrasound before they can perform an abortion. PPINK filed a lawsuit to block implementation shortly after the law was passed in 2016. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, agreeing with PPINK in a close vote, struck down the law as an unconstitutional “undue burden” on women seeking abortion.
Last month, the Supreme Court granted Indiana’s petition to review the ultrasound law and sent the case back to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration in keeping with the Supreme Court’s holding in June Medical Services v. Russo. In June Medical Services, the Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to hold admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Life Legal filed an amicus brief last year in support of the ultrasound law on behalf of Operation Outcry and thousands of women who have been hurt by abortion. Many of the women testified that they were pressured to abort immediately after finding out they were pregnant and were not given adequate time for reflection. We noted that Indiana law provides a three-day “cooling off” period for certain contracts, including gym memberships, and that it was reasonable to provide women with at least 18 hours to contemplate the life-ending decision to abort.
From our brief: “Abortion is unique in that it is the only medical procedure performed for the sole purpose of destroying a living human being. Whether one calls this other entity a nascent life, a fetus, or an unborn child, the reality is that abortion is vastly different from other medical procedures, such as surgery to remove a tumor. A tumor does not have the potential to become a brain surgeon, a Supreme Court Justice, or, for that matter, an abortion provider.”
Planned Parenthood maintained that it did not have ultrasound machines at all of its abortion mills, so some women would have to travel long distances for the ultrasound and then have to return a second time for the abortion procedure. The abortion giant argued that this imposed an impermissible “undue burden” on access to abortion.
We countered that PPINK has an annual budget of over $19 million and could easily afford to buy more ultrasound devices and install them in their non-abortion-providing facilities.
Apparently we were right, as PPINK recently realized its flimsy “undue burden” argument would not stand up to further scrutiny, particularly in light of its decision to open an office in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, that could provide ultrasounds to women in the northern half of the state. “PPINK disposed of the alleged ‘burden’ exactly how every other business is expected to deal with statutes and regulations,” said Life Legal CEO Alexandra Snyder. “It finally decided to accommodate the government’s interest in women having time for reflection before an abortion, rather than continuing this lawsuit.”
VICTORY! On January 1, the ultrasound law will finally go into effect unchallenged!