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Planned Parenthood sues Indiana health department

Statement as issued Thursday by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky:

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) today filed suit against the Indiana State Department of Health Indiana in U.S. District Court, arguing that Senate Enrolled Act 371 (SEA 371), legislation that singles out one health center in Lafayette for unnecessary new restrictions, is discriminatory and unconstitutional. PPINK is represented by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana.

“The additional restrictions in this new law are in no way related to patient safety,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of PPINK. “This law is clearly part of a coordinated national effort to end access to safe, legal abortion by trying to shut down Planned Parenthood health care centers, which also provide Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment.”

Non-surgical abortion, an early-term procedure involving a patient taking a pill in the presence of a physician, is already highly regulated and has been safely used in the United States for over a decade. Among the restrictions in SEA371 are requirements that facilities offering non-surgical abortions meet the same licensing standards as facilities that offer surgical abortions beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The Planned Parenthood Lafayette health center, at 964 Mezzanine Drive, would be required to meet the standards for surgical health centers -- including separate procedure, recovery and scrub rooms -- even though no surgical procedures are performed at the health center.

SEA 371 exempts physicians’ offices from the new requirements, even though physicians’ offices may provide patients with the very same medication prescribed at the Planned Parenthood Lafayette health center.

“This piece of legislation is aimed at one non-surgical abortion facility in Indiana – our health center in Lafayette,” Cockrum continued. “We have been providing health care for more than 40 years in Lafayette, and we will continue to do so.”

PPINK will request that the U.S. District Court issue an injunction to stop the state regulations from taking effect.

“These legislative changes specifically targeting Planned Parenthood’s Lafayette health center are not reasonably related to any legitimate purpose,” said Ken Falk, legal director of ACLU of Indiana, which is representing PPINK in this case. “The laws irrationally and invidiously discriminate against Planned Parenthood and pose a significant and unnecessary burden that violates the Constitution’s guarantees of privacy, due process and equal protection.”

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