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ACLU, health care providers file lawsuit against Indiana abortion reversal bill

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the bill on April 29
Judge: Women can get abortion pill without doctor visits during pandemic
Posted at 2:35 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 14:35:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A state "abortion reversal" bill that Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law a little over two weeks ago will now face legal challenges from health care providers.

The controversial law, HB 1577, which requires doctors to inform patients about the possibility of “reversing” a medication abortion, was pushed by Republican lawmakers despite objections that such treatments are imprecise.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in the Indianapolis Division of the Indiana Southern District Court on behalf of All-Options pregnancy resource center, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, and Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai'i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky (PPGNHAIK).

The lawsuit is wide-ranging, and also challenges several other abortion restrictions in the Hoosier state, including Attorney General Todd Rokita's recent ban on patients obtaining medication for abortion via telemedicine.

"Every day we help Hoosiers overcome barriers to find the abortion care they need,” Parker Dockray, the executive director of All-Options, stated in a release. All-Options is a Bloomington abortion provider. “Indiana needs more access and compassion, not more restrictions. HB 1577 is a step in the wrong direction and we're proud to be challenging it along with our partners."

The lawsuit states that HB 1577 is both unethical and unconstitutional. It also states that there is no scientific evidence that a medication abortion can be stopped after a patient has taken the first round of medicine.

Organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA) oppose the requirements, according to the ACLU, wherein the group has filed a federal lawsuit in other states over such laws, like North Dakota.

“These new regulations imposed by Indiana lawmakers are layered on top of an already burdensome regulatory scheme, making it difficult for people to access safe abortions, and more and more difficult for us to provide this essential medical care,” said Amy Hagstrom-Miller, President & CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. “Medication abortion is safer than many over-the-counter medications, and can be safely administered via telehealth. Claims of so-called ‘abortion reversal’ are not supported by science and can give patients dangerous, misleading information. All people, including folks in Indiana, deserve access to evidence-based abortion care and the agency to build their own lives and future.”

In addition to challenging abortion reversal treatments and the ban on abortion medication through telemedicine, the providers are also taking at least seven other abortion restrictions in Indiana to court.

“Despite our constant efforts to warn Indiana legislators and Governor Holcomb that this law is unconstitutional and would inevitably be challenged in the courts, elected officials yet again put politics ahead of women’s health,” Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana, said. “These restrictions would put Hoosiers at risk while ignoring science and the rights of medical providers.”