Indiana Right to Life denounces Seventh Circuit ruling blocking ultrasound law

July 26, 2018

Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter today issued this statement denouncing the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling blocking Indiana’s 18-hour ultrasound requirement prior to an abortion.

“The court’s ruling denies women the right to see ultrasound images of their unborn babies at least 18 hours before an abortion. The blockage of this law in 2017 is already resulting in a sharp rise in abortions in Indiana as well as a major spike in out-of-state women coming to Indiana for abortions. Sadly, many women will proceed with having an abortion without ever seeing the humanity of their unborn babies on display through ultrasound imaging. Abortion providers continue doing everything they can to block women from being fully informed prior to an abortion decision. Once again, the Seventh Circuit is playing politics by blocking common sense legislation passed by overwhelming majorities in the Indiana legislature. We urge the Indiana Attorney General to appeal this ruling and fervently hope it will be argued before a Supreme Court bench that includes Judge Brett Kavanaugh. “

Indiana’s abortion numbers rose dramatically in 2017 following the blockage of Indiana’s ultrasound law by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. The increase of 496 abortions in 2017 compared to 2016 marks the first upward swing in abortions in Indiana since 2009, according to the Indiana State Department of Health’s newly-released 2017 Induced Terminated Pregnancy Report.

Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act, signed into law by Governor Mike Pence in 2016, contained a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion must be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound provision was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood in July 2016 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling but remained in effect until Pratt’s injunction in April 2017.

From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 3,317 abortions in Indiana. During the same period of July through December 2017, after the blockage of the law, abortions spiked to 3,813 in Indiana, a 13 percent increase compared to 2016. A significant portion of the increase was due to a massive 33 percent increase in women from out of state coming to Indiana for abortions, with 296 abortions on out of state women in 2017 compared to 222 in 2016.

In total, there were 496 more abortions done in Indiana from July through December 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. When considering the overall annual increase in abortions in 2017 was 498 compared to 2016, the impact of the blockage of Indiana’s ultrasound law is clear.

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