Planned Parenthood & The ACLU Are Suing Indiana For An Impressive Reason
On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the state of Indiana. Why are Planned Parenthood and the ACLU suing Indiana? The suit comes in response to a controversial abortion law that was recently signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. The law would ban abortions for people who want to terminate a pregnancy due to race, gender, or disability, and would hold doctors accountable if they provided the service to people who did so. The law also bans fetal tissue donations, and requires an aborted fetus to be buried or cremated. An individual should never have to share why they chose abortion, and Planned Parenthood doesn't ask, but the new law would force health care providers to note if there were any fetal anomalies prior to an abortion.
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed the suit, claiming the law is unconstitutional because it puts an "undue burden on women's right to choose an abortion." According to The Chicago Tribune, Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said, "The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that a woman, not the state, is to determine whether or not to obtain an abortion. The State of Indiana's attempt to invade a woman's privacy and to control her decision in this regard is unprecedented and unconstitutional."
The lawsuit, filed Thursday morning, comes along after a number of women decided to take action on their own — at least in protesting Pence's decision. A Facebook page called "Periods for Pence" was created soon after the law was signed at the end of March, and has over 32,000 followers. The creator of the page — who wishes to remain anonymous — posted:
Fertilized eggs can be expelled during a woman's period without a woman even knowing that she might have had the potential blastocyst in her. Therefore, any period could potentially be a miscarriage without knowledge. I would certainly hate for any of my fellow Hoosier women to be at risk of penalty if they do not "properly dispose" of this or report it. Just to cover our bases, perhaps we should make sure to contact Governor Pence's office to report our periods.
And women have certainly been letting him know. Pence's office has received calls, emails, and Facebook posts over the last week from both women and men who have shared their experiences on the Facebook page. One man wrote, "Because my sperm is one half of the process of making the baby, what is the best manner for me to communicate to Pence the condition of my sperm?"
This is not the first of Indiana's bills that places restrictions on people seeking abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Indiana has passed at least nine abortion restrictions since Dec. 1, 2015. One requires women to undergo an ultrasound before obtaining the procedure. Another requires women to receive counseling that includes information that would discourage her from following through with an abortion.
Pence's new law has received backlash from some female Republican lawmakers as well. According to the Associated Press, state Rep. Sharon Negele said, "The bill does nothing to save innocent lives. There's no education, there's no funding. It's just penalties."
The lawsuit reportedly seeks an injunction to halt the law's enforcement until the case is resolved. In a statement on their website, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky noted, "The law imposes unconstitutional restrictions on women seeking abortions and their health care providers. This law does not value life. It only values birth."