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Indiana Law Allowing Judges To Disclose Abortions To Parents Challenged In Court

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

 Planned Parenthood wants a court to halt portions of a new Indiana abortion law. It’s the fifth lawsuit over abortion legislation in seven years.

If an underage girl wants an abortion but can’t get consent from her parents, she can go to court to get that consent. The new law Planned Parenthood is challenging would allow a judge to tell the girl’s parents about her request after the judge decides whether to grant the consent.

ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk, representing Planned Parenthood, says that provision should be halted.

“To tell the young woman going into this process that, by the way, even if you quote-unquote “win,” even if you get the bypass, your parents might still find out is going to operate as a clear deterrent to the young woman from even attempting,” Falk says.

Another provision says when parents are giving consent for an abortion, they must show “some evidence” – beyond an ID – that they are the child’s legal parent or guardian. Falk says that language is too vague.

“I have no idea what that means. Planned Parenthood has no idea what it means. The doctors have no idea what it means,” Falk says.

There’s another provision the lawsuit targets, one that bars anyone from assisting a pregnant minor in getting an abortion without consent. Falk says that infringes on Planned Parenthood’s free speech rights.

“Planned Parenthood, even today, will tell women if they call that if they’re too late to get an abortion in Indiana that there are contiguous states where they can get abortions,” Falk says. “And Planned Parenthood wishes to be able to inform its patients of their options.”

Falk is hoping to have a hearing – and a ruling – to temporarily halt those parts of the law before they take effect July 1.

In a statement, Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem), the abortion law’s author, says, “It’s unfortunate that a group who claims to be an advocate for women’s health would sue the state on this issue, rather than trying to protect our youth from human trafficking and to safeguard the unborn.”