A federal judge on April 3 blocked an Indiana law that required women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound at least 18 hours before the procedure.
Several states have laws requiring ultrasounds to give women the chance to see their babies before they abort them. The laws, including Indiana’s, typically allow a woman to avert her eyes or ask for the volume on the heartbeat monitor to be turned down.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Pratt’s preliminary injunction against the law is the first challenge to a state ultrasound requirement since last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter told WORLD News Service (WNS).
“How this works its way through the courts is going to have very meaningful impact on state legislation throughout the entire United States,” he said.
In Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court overturned a Texas law that required abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges and for abortion facilities to meet ambulatory surgical center standards.
At the time, pro-life leaders feared the worst for gains made toward restricting abortion at the state level. Since then, Planned Parenthood has filed several lawsuits against 20-week abortion bans and other state regulations, including in Alaska, Missouri and North Carolina.
Fichter said the Hellerstedt decision gave the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, which filed the Indiana suit, hope for something to exploit “to do great damage to informed consent laws and ultrasound laws across the country.”
The abortion giant argued the state should not force it to pay for additional ultrasound machines, Fichter said. The group claimed it only had four ultrasound machines in the entire state. Indiana Right to Life surveyed pro-life pregnancy centers in the state and found 52 with ultrasound machines that provide their services for free.
“It’s just laughable that Planned Parenthood, which likes to position themselves as a women’s health leader, openly admits that they only have four ultrasound machines in the entire state of Indiana,” Fichter said.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said he hasn’t decided whether to appeal Pratt’s decision, according to the IndyStar.
Fichter told WNS one of the ultrasound bill’s sponsors is circulating a letter among fellow lawmakers to urge Hill to file an appeal. If he does, Fichter expects a pro-life victory.
“It’s a common-sense issue that a woman have 18 hours before an abortion so that she can make an informed decision prior to the abortion. What this ruling says is that the ultrasound will not be done until literally minutes before the abortion takes place,” Fichter said. “This is a very disturbing ruling, and it points to judicial activism, and it points to progressive judges and how they are protecting abortion in the courts.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Samantha Gobba writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)