Federal judge blocks parts of Indiana’s new abortion law

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked portions of a new Indiana law that would make it tougher for girls under age 18 to get an abortion without their parents’ knowledge.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker wrote in approving a temporary injunction that “when it comes to our children, while parents or others entrusted with their care and wellbeing have the lawful and moral obligation always to act in their best interests, children are not bereft of separate identities, interests, and legal standing.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued the state on May 18 seeking to prevent three provisions from taking effect on July 1 and arguing that they create “an unconstitutional undue burden on unemancipated minors.” Barker approved injunctions blocking all three.

One provision of the law would require a judge in most cases to allow parents to be informed that their daughter is seeking an abortion.

Barker, who was nominated to the federal court by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, had expressed skepticism about some of the law’s provisions during June 13 arguments on the injunction.

Their lawsuit contends those portions violate the U.S. Constitution’s due process and equal protection provisions, and the First Amendment.

Attorneys for the state argued in their brief opposing the injunction that each provision the suit challenges is constitutionally permissible. They also argued that they in part further the state’s interest “in protecting pregnant minors” and encouraging parental involvement in their minor children’s decision to have an abortion.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, who signed the law April 25, has called the measure a “parental rights issue.”

The plaintiffs argued that one of the new law’s provisions revises Indiana’s parental consent process in a way that violates minor girls’ due process rights. Under existing Indiana law, girls younger than 18 must either get their parents’ consent to have an…

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