While Some Advocates Wait, Planned Parenthood of Indiana Promises to Challenge Abortion Restrictions

by Gabe Bullard on April 20, 2011

Planned Parenthood of Indiana has vowed to fight a bill that would cut funding for the organization and ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But the action would make Planned Parenthood unique among pro-choice groups.

The bill is before the Indiana House and can only be challenged if it becomes law. Similar measures have passed in other states, but opponents have largely refrained from taking legal action.

University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcosson says there’s a risk that a challenge will either set or change legal precedent, especially if it goes to the Supreme Court.

“Some of these deal with restrictions that are designed to force women to wait,” he says. “Others put restrictions on the abortion facilities themselves. So there’s uncertainty as to how each of these different kinds of restrictions might be treated by the courts.”

Marcosson says if even one Supreme Court Justice decides to retire, the balance could shift and embolden either pro-choice or pro-life groups, depending on which justice steps down.

But Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO Betty Cochrum says it takes a long time for a case to reach the high court, and the balance of conservative and liberal justices could shift.

“The behavior regarding this particular piece of legislation here in Indiana could change. We have an Indiana General Assembly session every year. We have an executive branch that, I would argue, has some choices about this,” she says.

Cochrum says, above all, she believes her organization would be on firm enough legal ground to win any challenges against the measure.

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