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U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

Decision could have ramifications in Indiana


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The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision Monday morning striking down a Texas law placing restrictions on abortion services in that state.

In a 5-3 decision for Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the high court determined the Texas law created undue burden for women seeking to get an abortion. The law in Texas had required abortion clinics to have the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and required all abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The court determined those provisions did not protect women’s health, but rather created undue burdens for women seeking abortion services.

The decision can be read here.

“Abortion providers are often the target of unfair legislation, and we’re no exception,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK). “It’s a major victory for the Supreme Court to acknowledge that such legislation interferes with women’s legal right to abortion, and sets a good precedent for our work in Indiana and Kentucky.”

The court’s ruling does not immediately override other states that have similar requirements, but it does set a precedent and bring the laws in those other states into question. Indiana required abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges or contract with a doctor with hospital privileges in 2013. The requirements for the documentation of those privileges were tightened in the most recent restrictions on abortion in HEA 1337.

Judge Tonya Walton Pratt is considering a challenge to HEA 1337 presented by PPINK and the ACLU of Indiana. However that lawsuit addresses other aspects of the law, such as the disposal of fetal remains and the restrictions regarding the prognosis of a fetus. While the specific points of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt cannot be added to Indiana’s case, the measure of “undue burden” would be a consideration. 

RELATED: Federal judge hears Planned Parenthood's case

Judge Pratt is set to rule on that case before Friday, July 1, when the law is scheduled to take effect.

No Indiana group or organization has indicated any intentions to challenge the hospital admissions requirement in Indiana statute.


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