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The ACLU files lawsuit to block new Indiana mandate requiring parental consent for abortions

Posted at 12:33 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 14:08:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The ACLU of Indiana will again take Indiana to court over an abortion law – this time one requiring parental consent for minors seeking the procedure.

The lawsuit was announced Thursday on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. It targets Senate Enrolled Act 404, which was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb in April.

The law requires abortion providers to obtain written consent from the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor seeking an abortion. The law also makes it a level 6 felony for anyone to falsely claim to be the parent or guardian of a minor to get around the parental notification requirement.

The law also stipulates that doctors who perform abortions on minors without parental consent could potentially have their medical licenses revoked.

On Thursday, ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar announced the organization had filed a lawsuit to block the law:

"The ACLU of Indiana stands in strong defense of a woman's right to make decisions about her health, including her reproductive health and future. For over four decades, courts have confirmed that this constitutional right extends to unemancipated minors who have been deemed, by a judge, to be sufficiently mature to make a decision to obtain an abortion without parental consent. SEA 404 imposes new burdens on a young woman's access to abortion and on her health care providers, in violation of often reaffirmed constitutional rights."

The ACLU of Indiana is two-for-two in recent legal battles against the Indiana General Assembly's attempt to pass new abortion restrictions.

Last year, the organization won an injunction from U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt against a law that that would have made it illegal for a woman to seek an abortion on the basis of the race, gender or disability of the fetus. The law would have also required aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

In April, Pratt blocked a mandate forcing women to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before having an abortion.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Curtis Hill filed an appeal of Pratt's injunction against the ultrasound requirement. No date has yet been set for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to heart that case.

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