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Federal judge blocks Indiana mandate requiring women to have ultrasound 18 hours before abortion

INDIANAPOLIS — ACLU’s Ken Falk called it a “major victory” after a federal judge in Indianapolis blocked a state mandate that forced women to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before having an abortion.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky sought the preliminary injunction in July 2016 after the ultrasound requirement took effect.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in Friday's ruling that Indiana's mandate "creates significant financial and other burdens" on the group and its patients, particularly low-income women.

Not every Planned Parenthood clinic can afford ultrasounds, so this means some women would have to travel hundreds of miles. Falk said for example that a woman in Fort Wayne would have to travel to Indianapolis in order to get the required ultrasound.

Pratt’s ruling says those women face "clearly undue" burdens while trying to get an abortion.

"You can’t just put up impediments for the sake of impediments,” Falk said.

The state still has time to appeal Pratt’s ruling. “I’m hoping the state gives up and we agree that this become final, but I don’t think that will happen,” Falk said.

Pratt has also blocked a separate part of the abortion law that banned the procedure if it was requested due to fetal genetic abnormalities.

Indiana Right to Life issued the following statement:

“Judge Pratt’s decision to side with Planned Parenthood is sadly predictable,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.

“Judge Pratt has consistently issued rulings that favor the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood opposes giving women 18-hours between seeing their unborn child and having an abortion because they are worried about money. Planned Parenthood doesn’t want to spend money on purchasing ultrasound equipment for any of its non-abortion locations. It also doesn’t want to risk losing abortion profits if women change their mind about ending their pregnancies.

“Indiana Right to Life urges Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to appeal to a higher court. Hill is solidly pro-life and we believe he will fight for Indiana’s constitutional right to put a time requirement on our state’s ultrasound law.”