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New abortion law paused by federal judge

A federal judge has blocked new Indiana legislation that would require doctors to inform women receiving drug-induced abortions about a potential treatment that could reverse the procedure.

On Wednesday, Federal Judge James Patrick Hanlon issued a temporary injunction keeping HEA 1577 from taking effect as a lawsuit challenging it goes through court.

About 44% of abortions performed in Indiana were medically induced in 2019; 49% of pregnancies are unintended, according to state Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie.

“Not only has the state wasted time and money stopping these unconstitutional bills, but it has also told Hoosier women that their bodies are not their own,” said Errington. “We should instead empower women to make their own health decisions, provide young girls and boys with comprehensive sex education, and increase access to contraception.”

Rep. Peggy Mayfield (above), R-Martinsville, authored the bill with Rep. Joanna King, R- Middlebury, and Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Greenwood. Mayfield said she wants to make sure that all women are aware of their options.

“The lives of the babies and the mothers, and much of this bill, is an extension or an expansion of common-sense extensions of previous laws. There is no new territory in this bill that has not been discussed before,” Mayfield said.

The ACLU of Indiana is opposed to the bill, saying it would “force health providers to lie to their patients and provide dangerous, false and misleading information about abortion reversal, putting patients at risk while ignoring science and the First Amendment rights of medical providers,” according to a statement on its website.

States such as North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee have had similar laws blocked due to legal challenges as well, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The ACLU and abortion-rights organizations including Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit against HEA 1577, which Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law April 29, on Tuesday. This lawsuit states that the bill is both unethical and unconstitutional.

“No other healthcare providers are required to inform their patients about experimental medical interventions, the safety and efficacy of which are wholly unsupported by reliable scientific evidence, and no other patients are required to receive such information as a condition of treatment,” the lawsuit said.

Tabby Fitzgerald is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.