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The Journal Gazette

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:10 am

Planned Parenthood sues to block new abortion law

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS - Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed suit Thursday to block a new abortion law stressing parental rights when a minor seeks an abortion.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent some provisions in the law from going into effect on July 1.

The two groups have successfully fought other abortion restrictions in the past.

"If this law is allowed to go into effect, it will have a chilling effect on teenagers already dealing with a difficult situation," said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. "We encourage teenagers to have open and honest conversations with their family members, but unfortunately not every teenager is in an environment where that is safe. This law seeks to stifle open and fully-informed conversation between our staff and our patients. Patients should know all options regarding their pregnancies. It is blatantly unconstitutional and is entirely without compassion for vulnerable Hoosiers." Senate Bill 404 - which was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb - would require doctors to verify the legal relationship between a pregnant teen and the adult providing consent for the abortion.

Advocates of the legislation contend other adults in a teen's life are posing as their parents to get an abortion. The bill requires the adult to provide identification for themselves as well as documents showing the relationship between the two - such as a birth certificate or custody papers.

The law also addresses the judicial bypass process set up for a small number of minors seeking an abortion without parental consent in Indiana.

Right now that process is confidential but the new law allows a judge to alert the parents or legal guardian that the teenager is seeking an abortion.

nkelly@jg.net