Attorney General Curtis Hill this week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling on the constitutionality of an Indiana law requiring fetal ultrasounds at least 18 hours prior to abortions.
In July of 2018, a panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit enjoined the law – accepting Planned Parenthood’s contention that it placed an undue burden on women seeking abortions. In this week’s filing, however, Attorney General Hill notes that the law essentially combines two Indiana statutes that have been on the books for years.
In 1995, the Indiana General Assembly passed the informed-consent statute, which specified that a woman must receive, in person, information relevant to abortion and childbirth at least 18 hours before an abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar statute in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
Then, in 2011, the state legislature passed another law requiring an ultrasound be performed before an abortion. It required medical staff to show the ultrasounds to women seeking abortions unless they expressed in writing that they did not wish to see them. In 2016, lawmakers added the provision at issue in this week’s filing – which stipulates that the required ultrasound take place at the informed-consent appointment at least 18 hours before the abortion procedure.
“The state has a compelling interest to protect fetal life and dignity,” Attorney General Hill said. “It also has an obligation to ensure that women do not feel rushed or pressured into getting an abortion. I hope the Supreme Court will establish the clear constitutionality of this vitally important legislation.”