INDIANAPOLIS — On Jan. 1, 2021, a new law goes into effect in Indiana requiring ultrasounds at least 18 hours before a woman undergoes an abortion.
“For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling. Anyone interested in protecting women’s health, including their mental health, should support giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision-making. This new law serves to empower women with knowledge," said Attorney General Curtis Hill.
The battle over the law dates back to July of 2016 when it first took effect. The lawsuit filed then against state and local officials contended the provision was unconstitutional because it placed an undue burden on women's right to obtain an abortion.
The lawsuit also claimed the increased use of ultrasound equipment at the clinics would lead to more crowding, delay abortions and prevent some women from getting an abortion.
Enforcement of the law was postponed until 2021 in an agreement that had Planned Parenthood drop the lawsuit against the state. The agreement allowed clinics time to train staff on proper use of ultrasound equipment.
“We held the line in our commitment to respect women’s health and the sanctity of human life," Hill said. "Planned Parenthood folded because they saw the likelihood that they would lose their lawsuit if they persisted in fighting Indiana’s very reasonable and well-grounded law."
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky issued a statement to 13News on the enforcement of the ultrasound requirement:
“This medically unnecessary law passed by the state is only meant to shame, stigmatize and restrict access to abortion, but we are fortunately able to maintain the same level of access to patient care and comply with this medically unnecessary law.
The burden falls heaviest on our most vulnerable community members. Women of color already bear the brunt of needless abortion restrictions and may face greater barriers to getting the abortion care they need. Pregnant people already struggling to survive this pandemic are now being forced to navigate mandatory waiting periods that require multiple trips to a health center, placing them and their health care providers at a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Patient care is our priority, and our doors remain open, no matter what.” – Nicole Erwin, Communications Manager