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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld a preliminary injunction against a restrictive Indiana state abortion law, SEA 404, that would have imposed undue burdens on young women’s personal medical decisions.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana challenged the law on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) and its patients. In 2017, a federal district court blocked the law from taking effect, concluding that it “places an unjustifiable burden on mature minors in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
SEA 404 included an unnecessary and dangerous add-on to Indiana’s existing parental consent law, which the lawsuit asserts would endanger young women in vulnerable circumstances, according to the ACLU. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a minor who is unable or unwilling to obtain parental consent for an abortion must be allowed to obtain an abortion if a judge determines that she is sufficiently mature to make the decision herself or that an abortion is in her best interest. Indiana has long had such a procedure.
SEA 404 would burden a minor’s ability to obtain an abortion by allowing parents to be notified, even in cases in which a judge has determined that a young woman is mature enough to make the decision herself. The evidence in the case demonstrated that the notice provision might lead to young women being harmed or harming themselves, the ACLU said.
“This decision affirms that the state must continue to provide a safe alternative for young women who – whatever their circumstances – are unable to talk to their parents about this difficult and personal decision,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana. “Legislators need to stop targeting women with invasive hurdles and start respecting the rights of all Hoosiers to make their own personal medical decisions. These heavy-handed restrictions would have burdened young women’s constitutional rights and put their health and safety at risk.”
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