INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
An Indiana mandate that forces women to undergo an ultrasound at least 18
hours before having an abortion is "an undue burden" that saddles some women
with lengthy travel and additional expenses, a federal appeals court ruled
The 7th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed a preliminary injunction
issued in April 2017 by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. The
injunction blocked the ultrasound waiting period that then-Indiana Gov. Mike
Pence signed into law in March 2016.
Appeals Court Judge
Ilana Rovner wrote in Wednesday's ruling that while Indiana's attorneys had
a legitimate position in arguing that the reason for the waiting period was
to persuade women not to have an abortion, "it is also true that women have
the right to choose to have an abortion, albeit with some limitations."
"Women, like all
humans, are intellectual creatures with the ability to reason, consider,
ponder, and challenge their own ideas and those of others. The usual manner
in which we seek to persuade is by rhetoric not barriers," Rovner wrote.
General Curtis Hill expressed disappointment in the decision Thursday,
saying in a statement that his office is "reviewing the court's reasoning
and considering our options."
Attorneys for the
state had appealed Pratt's 2017 ruling, and the appeals court in Chicago
heard arguments in November. The challenged 18-hour requirement had replaced
a previous Indiana provision that didn't specify when an ultrasound had to
of Indiana and Kentucky, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of
Indiana, had sued the state in July 2016, contending the mandate was
unconstitutional and would prevent some women from getting abortions.
the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood chapter, praised the
Wednesday ruling, saying an 18-hour waiting period would place significant
burdens on rural and low-income women by forcing them "to make two trips to
their provider - a time-consuming and expensive process."
The ACLU of
Indiana's executive director, Jane Henegar, said the court decision affirmed
"that deeply personal decisions about abortion should be made by women in
consultation with their doctors, not politicians pursuing an extreme
Mike Fichter, the
president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, condemned Wednesday's ruling,
saying the appeals court "is playing politics by blocking common sense
legislation passed by overwhelming majorities in the Indiana legislature."
He urged the state attorney general to appeal the ruling.
The ruling comes
after the same federal appeals court ruled in April against Indiana in
another case challenging a different Indiana abortion restriction, also
signed into law by Pence when he was Indiana's governor. That ruling also
upheld a preliminary injunction, which Pratt issued in June 2016, blocking a
law's provisions that in part barred abortions sought because the fetus had
been diagnosed with a disability.