CNA Staff, Jul 10, 2020 / 05:34 pm (CNA).- A federal judge ruled against an Indiana law requiring medical providers to inform the state if they treat any complications connected to a prior abortion.
U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Wednesday that the law was “unconstitutionally vague.” He said the legislation was unclear about how and when doctors should report potential complications, as well as what criteria should be used to determine whether a later condition is tied a previous abortion.
“The indeterminacy of the statute’s requirements denies fair notice to physicians and invites arbitrary enforcement by prosecutors,” Young wrote.
“The language of the statute does not make clear whether the duty to report covers conditions exclusively caused by the abortion procedure, conditions that are only slightly caused or exacerbated by the abortion procedure, or something in between.”
Under the law, there are 26 physical or psychological abortion-related conditions, ranging from depression to future pregnancy complications, that would require a report from doctors to the state. Failure to comply would be punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
In 2018 court documents, Attorney General Curtis Hill said the requirement “serves the public interest by collecting comprehensive data on the complications that may result from abortion and the frequency of those complications,” the New York Times reported.
Hill defended the law in a statement on Thursday, calling the legislation a “commonsense” regulation to safeguard women’s health.
“The Indiana General Assembly has a record of passing legislation that safeguards women’s health and protects the lives of unborn children,” Hill said. “I will always consider it an honor to vigorously defend state laws aimed at such essential objectives.”
At the same time, Young upheld another part of the law requiring abortion clinics to undergo annual inspections.
Planned Parenthood has objected to the law as unfair, since hospitals and surgical centers do not face the same yearly inspections.
However, Young pointed to the misconduct by abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, whose property was discovered after his death in 2019 to house more than 2,000 aborted fetuses. Klopfer operated several abortion clinics before losing his license in 2015.
Young ruled that “the state has offered a rational reason for the decision to subject abortion clinics to stricter inspection requirements.”
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