7th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates Indiana’s abortion restrictions

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Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s

Just because technology and medicine make it easier to end the life of your child, doesn’t mean it’s OK to do.

That is the basic message of the Indiana attorney general’s office, who won a victory on Sept. 8 when a federal appeals court set aside a judge’s ruling that state laws banning pre-abortion teleconferencing provide sufficient grounds for abortion of a child.

The laws were challenged when a company that wanted to open a new abortion clinic in Indiana filed suit in 2018.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit’s 2-1 ruling allows Indiana to continue enforcing certain abortion restrictions, including a ban on telemedicine consultations between doctors and women seeking abortions, according to coverage by The Boston Globe.

The appellate court said District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s ruling last month was inconsistent with previous Supreme Court decisions. Barker, nominated in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, had ruled that the state lacked constitutional authority to ban the use of virtual telemedicine services to women seeking drug-based abortions without proving that it benefitted the women’s health to do so.

The Indiana attorney general’s office countered in its appeal of the decision that “the Constitution does not require state legislatures constantly to update state statutes to keep up with ever-advancing technologies just because those technologies may make abortion more convenient.”

Drug-induced abortions comprised 55 percent of those performed in the state in 2020, according to Indiana’s health department.

The Indiana abortion restrictions were challenged in a broad lawsuit filed by Virginia-based Whole Woman’s Health Alliance and other abortion supporters in 2018 as Whole Woman’s Health fought the state’s denial of a license to open an abortion clinic in South Bend.

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