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ACLU and Planned Parenthood File Anti-Discrimination Lawsuit Against Indiana Department of Health
Laws Regulating Abortion Clinics Violate Constitutional Protections of Privacy, Due Process and Equal Protection
INDIANAPOLIS - August 22 - The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Indiana, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America today challenged amendments to state laws that single out one health care center in Lafayette, Ind., for a host of unnecessary new regulations. The lawsuit, filed in federal court on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) against the Indiana State Department of Health and the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor, claims that these laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"These legislative changes specifically targeting PPINK's Lafayette health care center are not reasonably related to any legitimate purpose," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. "The laws irrationally and invidiously discriminate against PPINK and pose a significant and unnecessary burden that violates the Constitution's guarantees of privacy, due process and equal protection."
Senate Enrolled Act 371, passed in the 2013 legislative session, changed the definition of "abortion clinic" to include facilities that provide only the abortion pill Mifepristone to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone is a safe, non-surgical option used during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers also amended state law to require clinics that offer non-surgical abortions to meet the same physical requirements as clinics that provide the surgical procedure.
These new regulations will require the PPINK health care center in Lafayette to renovate its facility by Jan. 1, 2014, to meet surgical standards – including separate procedure, recovery, and scrub rooms – even though no surgical procedures are performed there. The law affects only the Lafayette center, and does not apply to private physicians' offices providing the same procedures.
"This law is clearly part of a coordinated national effort to end access to safe, legal abortion by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood health care centers, which also provide Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control, and STD testing and treatment," said Betty Cockrum, CEO of PPINK. "We have been providing health care for more than 40 years in Lafayette, and we will continue to do so."
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