Federal judge strikes down Indiana law meant to protect minors from coerced abortions

A federal judge has struck down an Indiana law which had prohibited health care providers from giving information to minors about how to obtain an abortion out-of-state without parental consent.

Known as the “aid-or-assist statute,” the law protected minors from being coerced into abortions, especially without parental consent. The legislation was challenged by Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky Inc. (PPGNHAIK) in a push for more abortion — even if minors are at risk.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Barker sided with PPGNHAIK, saying that the law would violate the First Amendment if enforced against the health care provider. This same judge has also ruled that an Indiana school district didn’t discriminate when disallowing a pro-life club on a high school campus. Judge Barker appears to have had an unpredictable, mixed record over the years, at times striking down numerous pro-life laws in the state while allowing others to stand.

“Thus, contrary to the State’s contention, the aid-or-assist statute does not simply restrict PPGNHAIK’s speech only as it relates to immature, dependent minors, but would also prevent PPGNHAIK and its physicians from speaking or otherwise communicating about out-of-state abortion care, even to minors who have parental consent for their abortion or who would be deemed mature enough to make the abortion decision for themselves but for whatever reason are not seeking to comply with Indiana’s parental consent and/or judicial bypass procedures,” Barker wrote.

The abortion industry quickly praised the ruling, since state law protects most preborn children from abortion.

“Given Indiana’s near-total ban on abortions in the state, it is extremely important that medical providers and other persons retain the ability to inform patients, including minors, of their out-of-state options for receiving this vital health care,” said Gavin Rose, senior staff attorney for ACLU of Indiana.

Pro-life groups in the state, however, decried the decision.

“This ruling today by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker is an outrage — undercutting parental rights and endangering young girls. This ruling places young girls at risk of predatory abortion providers, coerced abortions, and abortions without informed consent,” said Mark Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “It also opens the door for Indiana abortion providers to sell abortions to young girls across state borders – all without parents knowing.”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has not yet indicated if he plans to appeal the decision.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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