Judge blocks portions of state’s new abortion law

By Christina Ramey

INDIANAPOLIS – A judge has blocked provisions in a new abortion law that would make it harder for a girl under 18 to have an abortion without telling her parents.

Under current Indiana law, anyone under 18 must have the consent of a parent, legal guardian or custodian to get an abortion. To avoid the parental consent provision, minors may seek a judicial bypass, putting the decision in a judge’s hands.

Senate Enrolled Act 404, which was set to go into effect on Saturday, would require the judge in many cases to allow parents to be notified that their daughter was seeking an abortion.

“The persons in the Statehouse who think it’s okay to put these things into law have no notion of what they’re going through and it lacks intelligence and it lacks compassion,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

The injunction also blocks the requirement that physicians verify a parent’s identity when they provide consent for an abortion. Additionally, it blocks the provision preventing staff from letting underage girls know about their abortion options in other states.

Other requirements in the law will still go into effect.

However, not everyone is pleased that another of Indiana’s abortion laws is being debated in court.

“This issue isn’t about women seeking abortions,” said the author of the legislation, Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem. “It’s about minor children seeking abortions and the rights of their parents to be involved in that very serious health care decision, which can have a lasting psychological impact.”

Both Houchin and Indiana Right to Life argue that the court is putting abortion rights ahead of parental rights.

“Hoosiers are tired of seeing activist judges legislate abortion from the bench. Planned Parenthood runs straight to the courts anytime they find a law they don’t like,” Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, said in a statement.

The state of Indiana can appeal the decision made by Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who was nominated to the bench by President Ronald Reagan. Both Houchin and Indiana Right to Life are urging the state to defend the law.

Christina Ramey is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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