Federal appeals court sides with Attorney General Todd Rokita on Indiana’s continued enforcement of abortion laws

INDIANA – A federal appeals court has ruled that Indiana may continue enforcing several abortion laws being contested by an abortion provider in the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Rokita. By ruling as it did, the appeals court rejected a district court’s ruling permanently prohibiting enforcement of those laws pending the outcome of the appeal.

Todd Rokita

Attorney General Todd Rokita said, “The appellate court’s decision in our favor at this juncture signifies the overall strength of our legal position. We would expect our commonsense laws to be upheld as the appeal continues. Protecting the culture of life is the top priority of my office, and we will continue fighting for every life alongside our legislative partners.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit granted Attorney General Rokita’s stay request on all points, including enabling Indiana to continue enforcing requirements 1) that only physicians may perform chemical abortions, 2) that only hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers may provide second-trimester abortions, 3) that patients receive in-person counseling before undergoing abortions, 4) that patients receive in-person physical examinations before undergoing abortions and 5) that medical staff provides abortion services in person rather than via telemedicine.

“All of the contested provisions have been in force for years,” the court stated in its majority opinion, “so a stay would preserve the status quo pending appellate resolution. And Indiana has made the ‘strong showing’ on the merits necessary to receive a stay.” 

The appellate court cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the physician-only and second-trimester hospitalization requirements. It cited its own 7th Circuit precedent on in-person counseling.

“All we hold today is that existing precedents provide strong grounds for concluding that Indiana is likely to prevail on the contested issues,” the court stated

Attorney General Rokita said he is heartened by the appellate court’s action.

“This news should encourage all Hoosiers who support Indiana’s commonsense laws aimed at protecting the lives of unborn children and the health of mothers,” he said. “Rest assured that in my office we will continue working every day to defend these laws and sustain a culture of life in Indiana.”

The appellate court’s ruling is attached.

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