ACLU, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Fighting to Keep Abortion Clinics Open

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is gearing up for a fight against a 2013 Indiana state law that could arbitrarily force it to shut down its only clinic offering non-surgical abortions.

The new law involves a multitude of unnecessary new regulations that single out one center in Lafayette, Ind., according to the lawsuit filed Thursday against the Indiana State Department of Health and the Tippecanoe County prosecutor by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. The most blatantly unnecessary regulation? The new law requires the clinic to undergo a costly renovation that would make it into a full-scale surgical center — despite the fact that it provides no surgical procedures.

"The law is clearly part of a coordinated national effort to end access to safe, legal abortion by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood health care centers," Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement.

"We’ve been providing health care for more than 40 years in Lafayette and we will continue to do so," Cockrum said.

The regulations were pushed through by Republicans who control the Indiana statehouse and signed by Governor Mike Pence (R) and are just one example of lawmaker and anti-choice activists' attacks on Planned Parenthood. Note: Planned Parenthood's abortion services represent only about three percent of its work nationally. Priorities.

The ACLU lawsuit is the fourth lawsuit filed in Indiana in the last ten years over abortion rights and the services Planned Parenthood provides. Of the last three lawsuits, the state won one, meaning women seeking abortions are now required to make two trips at least 18 hours apart to Planned Parenthood and hear state-mandated information about the abortion process and alternatives to the procedure.

Legal experts and political observers say the fighting in Indiana will likely continue, given that Republicans control both houses in the General Assembly, as well as the governor's office.

Meanwhile, some good news for the perception of women's reproductive rights actually took place over the weekend. The New York Times published a wedding announcement for Udonis Haslem, a basketball player with the Miami Heat, and his partner Faith Rein. The announcement poignantly chronicles the couple's 14 years together — and covers Rein's decision to have an abortion after the couple had been dating for about a year in an authentic, realistic way.

Their first challenge took place the following spring when she became pregnant. It was her junior and his senior year, and he had begun training for the N.B.A. draft. Despite the pregnancy, she was busy with track meets and helping him complete homework. The timing was bad.
"I am not a huge fan of abortion, but we both had sports careers, plus we could not financially handle a baby," said Mr. Haslem, noting how he struggled with supporting Kedonis, the son he had in high school, who is now 14 and who lives with his mother.
"Udonis appreciated that I was willing to have an abortion," Ms. Rein said. "I found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was O.K. I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package."

What an unusual, refreshing, honest look at abortion. Massive props to Rein, Haslem, and the Times.