unhappy woman with pregnancy test

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pence’s Abortion Law

A federal judge struck down a key provision of Indiana abortion law signed by Vice President Mike Pence last year, the Associated Press reported.

Reproductive rights advocates called the draconian bill, known as HEA 1337, “one of the worst anti-abortion laws in the country.”

HEA 1337 included a number of provisions that made it more difficult for women to get abortions, such as: forcing women to get an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion; mandating that aborted remains be buried or cremated; banning abortion when fetal anomalies are detected; and requiring clinics to have admission privileges at a hospital.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the legislation “one of the most extreme anti-abortion measures in the country.”

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt’s ruling states that requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion is likely unconstitutional, and creates a burden for low-income women.

Pratt also said the state failed to justify its requirement that women make two trips to abortion clinics, which creates an undue burden for women on limited incomes.

According to the lawsuit, Indiana’s draconian abortion law prevented at least nine women from getting an abortion because they could not afford to make two trips to the clinic.

“The burdens it creates on women seeking to terminate their pregnancies – which are significant even if not overwhelming – dramatically outweigh the benefits, making the burdens undue and the new ultrasound law likely unconstitutional,” said Pratt.

A preliminary injunction has been granted against the provision.

Indiana is not the first state to impose such a restrictive abortion law. Thirteen other states require in-person counseling days or hours before the abortion.

Pratt’s ruling may set a precedent and change the way courts approach extreme abortion laws. But few states have faced legal issues over their counseling and ultrasound requirements.