Federal judge blocks Indiana ultrasound requirement

Last year the state of Indiana passed a law which required women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound at least 18 hours before the procedure. Planned Parenthood sued and the case went to court last November. Friday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction against the ultrasound requirement. From the Associated Press:


Pratt’s ruling said the waiting period “creates significant financial and other burdens” on Planned Parenthood and its patients, particularly low-income women who face lengthy travel to one of only six Planned Parenthood health centers that can offer an informed-consent ultrasound appointment.

The judge, who heard arguments in the case in November, found that Indiana had presented “no compelling evidence” to support its contention that the mandate would further its stated interest of convincing women not to have an abortion.

“Simply put, the State has not provided any convincing evidence that requiring an ultrasound to occur eighteen hours prior to an abortion rather than on the day of an abortion makes it any more likely that a woman will choose not to have an abortion,” Pratt wrote. She added that the mandate “likely creates an undue burden on women’s constitutional rights.”

Previously, the state of Indiana required doctors to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion but did not set a time requirement associated with the procedure. As a result, ultrasounds were generally performed just prior to the abortion.

The president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky praised the decision and told CBS News, “I would prefer that the Legislature figure out that it’s not their job to practice medicine, and that we would in fact get politicians out of our doctor’s offices.”


Judge Pratt blocked a different portion of the law last June. From the NY Times:

A federal judge on Thursday blocked an Indiana law that would have banned abortions based solely on a fetus’s disability or genetic anomaly, suggesting that it was an illegal limit on a woman’s long-established constitutional right…

Indiana would have been the first state to have a blanket ban on abortions based solely on race, sex or suspected disabilities, including evidence of Down syndrome.

The law was signed by then-Governor Mike Pence last March. The state has one month to decide whether or not to appeal the ruling.

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John Sexton 7:20 PM on November 30, 2023