Women in Indiana Forced to Make Two Trips to a Clinic in Order to Obtain an Abortion

Judge Refuses to Enjoin the Law during State Court Challenge

Today, a judge denied a motion to prevent the Indiana mandatory delay law's "two-trip" requirement from taking effect, forcing women in Indiana to make two trips to their physician's office, at least 18 hours apart, in order to obtain an abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently challenging the law in state court on behalf of several Indiana clinics.

"We are extremely disappointed by this ruling and will continue to fight this harmful law," said Simon Heller, Of Counsel with the Center for Reproductive Rights and lead counsel on the case. "Women seeking abortion should not have to face this burdensome requirement, which serves no actual health purpose and simply stands in the way of women seeking abortions," added Heller.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a state court challenge in March against the state's mandatory delay abortion law. Citing the irreparable harm that would be inflicted on women if the law went into effect, the Center asked the court for a preliminary injunction while the law was being challenged in court.

The Center is charging that the law violates the rights of women seeking abortions by placing unnecessary, burdensome obstacles that serve no actual health purpose in their path. The Center is seeking to have the law struck down by the courts. The state court challenge follows a long history of legal battles over this law in the federal courts, including a petition to the United States Supreme Court.

Passed in 1995, Indiana's waiting period law requires women to make two separate trips to an abortion provider before they can obtain the procedure; they must receive a state-mandated lecture designed to discourage the abortion choice at least 18 hours before the procedure is performed. As medical experts have testified, mandatory delay requirements serve no health purpose and are intended to discourage abortion as an option. By requiring that women receive the information in person, the Indiana law increases the expenses incurred by women, including those associated with travel and time off from work. The requirement that women make two separate trips to the clinic is particularly burdensome for women seeking second-trimester abortions. There is only one clinic in the state, located in Indianapolis, which performs abortions after the first trimester.

Simon Heller and Janet Crepps of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Mary Hoeller, an Indianapolis attorney, represent the plaintiffs in Clinic for Women v. Brizzi. Plaintiffs include Clinic for Women, Inc., Women's Medical Professional Corporation, all in Indianapolis, the Fort Wayne Women's Health Organization, Inc., Women's Pavilion Inc., in South Bend, Planned Parenthood of Central and Southern Indiana, Inc., Friendship Family Planning Clinic of Indiana in Gary, and Dr. Ulrich G. Klopfer. Ken Falk, of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, also represents Planned Parenthood.