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Indiana defends abortion law in federal court

February 16, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court has heard arguments in Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s 2016 order blocking a state law that would ban abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher told the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Thursday that the law is a prohibition on “discriminatory abortion,” the Indianapolis Star reported

The law was signed by former Gov. Mike Pence in March 2016. It prohibits abortions sought solely because a fetus has been potentially diagnosed with a disability. The law also requires that the identities of abortion providers be made public, that funerals be held for fetal remains and that women undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to having an abortion.

Legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Ken Falk, argued that Indiana’s law is an infringement on women’s privacy interests. He accuses the state of looking to figure out “why women seek abortion.”

The ACLU of Indiana describes the state’s abortion law as one of the nation’s most restrictive.

A federal judge in Indianapolis issued a preliminary injunction on June 30, 2016, blocking the law from taking effect the following day.

Debate over the Indiana abortion law comes as the ACLU of Ohio filed a complaint this week challenging a 2017 Ohio law prohibiting doctors from performing abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction before the law goes into effect.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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