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Federal judge strikes down multiple restrictive abortion laws in Indiana

By Zarrin Ahmed
Federal judge strikes down multiple restrictive abortion laws in Indiana
Included in the laws struck down Tuesday are a requirement that women in Indiana must have an in-person examination prior to an abortion and a ban on second-trimester abortions outside hospitals or surgical clinics. File Photo by Chris Chew/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Indiana has ruled against multiple abortion laws in the state that aim to restrict the practice, including one that banned virtual consultations between women and their doctors.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a permanent injunction on Tuesday against the telemedicine ban, declaring it unconstitutional.

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Barker also struck down other laws that required women in Indiana to have an in-person examination prior to an abortion and a ban on second-trimester abortions outside hospitals or surgical clinics.

Also declared unlawful was an Indiana law that said pregnant women must be told by medical providers that human life begins when the egg is fertilized, and that the fetus could feel pain for up to 20 weeks.

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Baker upheld other provisions of Indiana law relating to abortion, including a requirement for an ultrasound, an 18-hour waiting period before having an abortion, and parental consent. Those laws remain in force.

Tuesday's rulings resulted from a 2018 lawsuit filed by Whole Woman's Health Alliance, which asked Indiana's abortion laws to be struck down after it failed to receive a license for a clinic in South Bend.

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The group argued that the laws place "futile and burdensome regulatory requirements" on abortion providers, orders doctors and nurses to give "misleading and incorrect" information to patients and "unreasonably restricts" girls under 18 from accessing abortions.

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"We will continue to fight to defend Indiana's commonsense abortion laws and to build a culture of life in Indiana," Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a statement in response to the rulings.

"Today's mixed decision in Whole Woman's Health vs. Rokita only strengthens our resolve to keep fighting for the lives of unborn children and the health of mothers."

Indiana is one of several states that have recently passed more restrictive abortion laws. Experts say some are intended to provoke the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its landmark 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade, which made abortion legal nationwide.

RELATED Indiana holds burial ceremony for fetuses found after abortion doctor's death

Last July, the Supreme Court tossed lower court rulings that blocked some Indiana abortion laws, including the requirements for an ultrasound and the waiting period.

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