A law requiring women to obtain in-person counseling at least 18 hours before having an abortion was upheld by the Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday. This waiting period was passed into law ten years ago, but not enforced until 2003, due to numerous court challenges that argued the law placed an undue burden on women seeking abortion in Indiana.
The state Supreme Court rejected the challenge, led by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU) and the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a 4-1 decision. The Associated Press reports that the judge’s ruling said that reviews of similar abortion-rights decisions “persuade us that the Indiana statute does not impose a substantial obstacle to a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy.” If the case had gone to trial, the ICLU had planned to bring information about the financial burden of the law, as low-income women would have to travel twice to one of the only five counties offering abortion services. Sanford Cohen, a deputy director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Indianapolis Star that the 18-hour forced waiting period could have no medical purpose, and “it can only serve to prevent women from obtaining an abortion.”