Indiana's Attorney General to appeal injunction on abortion ruling

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 16:41:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Attorney General's office is planning to appeal an injunction that blocks the portions of Indiana's new abortion law that make it tougher for girls under the age of 18 to get an abortion without their parent's consent.  

Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Friday that his office will appeal the district court's order granting Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky's motion for preliminary injunction. 

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued the state on May 18 seeking to prevent three provisions from taking effect on July 1 and arguing that they create "an unconstitutional undue burden on unemancipated minors." Barker approved injunctions blocking all three.

One provision of the law would require a judge in most cases to allow parents to be informed that their daughter is seeking an abortion.

The plaintiffs argued that one of the new law's provisions revises Indiana's parental consent process in a way that violates minor girls' due process rights. Under existing Indiana law, girls younger than 18 must either get their parents' consent to have an abortion or seek permission from a judge through the so-called "judicial bypass" process. The girl's parents are not notified of her bid for an abortion, regardless of whether that judge approves or denies her request, under current law.

“Under this injunction, it’s easier for a 14-year-old to get an abortion than to get a tattoo. The court is essentially saying parents shouldn’t be involved if a minor decides to have an abortion. It’s ironic that the same people who would suggest that the adolescent brain doesn’t fully develop until a person is 25 would suggest that a minor – a child – has the mental capacity to go it alone through the emotionally and physically overwhelming procedure of aborting a human being. We will always support the authority of parents to know what is going on with their children and continue to defend Hoosier parents,” Hill said.

The new law would require the judge considering that request to also weigh whether the girl's parents should receive notification of her pregnancy and her efforts to obtain an abortion, regardless of the decision on the abortion itself. It requires that the parents be notified unless the judge determines it would not be in the minor's best interest for the parents to know - even if the court finds the minor is mature enough to make a decision independently on whether to have an abortion.

“The challenge of this law is nothing more than an attempt to give courts rather than parents the legal guardianship of children. This law already enables judges to determine that some minors could have extenuating circumstances in their relationships with their parents that make notification unwise or unsafe. In these instances, judges have full authority to waive the notification of parents. By requiring minors to notify their parents, Senate Enrolled Act 404 increases the likelihood that minors will go through this process with the support and guidance needed.”