Lawmakers in a number of GOP-led states have pursued new abortion restrictions in recent years.
Of course, pro-choice activists have invariably challenged such proposals and laws — and those critics received a partial victory in an Indiana courtroom this week.
Judge issues mixed ruling
According to reports, U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evan Barker issued a permanent injunction on Tuesday against various provisions advanced by state officials.
Among the policies shot down by the judge were requirements that physicians perform in-person examinations before performing abortions, that only physicians may carry out abortions in the first trimester, and that any abortions carried out after that must take place at a hospital or approved surgical facility.
Of course, Barker’s decision did uphold a few of the state’s restrictions, including the mandate that a physician must provide aspiration abortion services within the first trimester.
Additional measures allowed to stand were those requiring that an ultrasound precede any abortion, that the state Department of Health must maintain a database about patients receiving abortion services, and that abortion providers either have a hospital admitting privileges or an agreement with a provider who does.
State officials will also be allowed to require that abortion-inducing drugs measure up to Food and Drug Administration guidelines and that minors provide parental consent or obtain a judicial waiver before receiving an abortion.
“A credible threat of prosecution”
A group of abortion providers, including Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, initially filed a lawsuit arguing that a number of the Indiana restrictions violated the U.S. Constitution.
Earlier this year, a federal appeals court sided with a lower court’s decision to strike down abortion restrictions implemented in North Carolina.
Judge Diana Gribbon Motz penned the unanimous ruling by the panel, noting its concurrence with plaintiffs who “have established a credible threat of prosecution and therefore have standing to bring this suit.”
She acknowledged that abortion remains a hot-button issue in the U.S., but nevertheless affirmed that abortion providers made a compelling argument.
“While this conversation rages around us, this court cannot say that the threat of prosecution to abortion providers who violate the law is not credible,” the judge wrote.