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Court Reverses Ind. Abortion Ruling

September 17, 2002

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ An appeals court ruled Monday that Indiana’s law requiring women to get in-person counseling before having an abortion is constitutional, reversing a judge’s earlier decision.

Part of the 1995 law requires abortion clinics to give women information about alternatives to abortion in the presence of a physician or nurse 18 hours before the abortion is scheduled to be performed.

Opponents of the law had argued it forced women to make two trips to a clinic before they could get an abortion, which could deter them from ending a pregnancy.

Last year, U.S. District Judge David Hamilton agreed and struck down that part of the law.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reversed that decision 2-1 Monday, saying women in Indiana do not face an obstacle in visiting a clinic twice, in part because the law has an emergency clause to cover any kind of physical or psychological risk to the woman.

Circuit Judge Diane P. Wood dissented from the decision, saying that the ``legislative history of the Indiana statute reveals no reason whatsoever for imposing a two-visit requirement for the dissemination of the required information.″

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Attorney General’s office, which had argued the case, didn’t immediately return a page seeking comment Monday night.

The state had argued that the personal contact required by the statute is important in developing a dialogue between women seeking abortions and the physicians or nurses.

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