Indiana: In-Clinic Counseling Required for Women Seeking Abortions

In a 2-1 decision issued Monday, the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago rejected a lower court’s decision and instead ruled in favor of an Indiana law mandating in-clinic counseling for women seeking abortions. The law Ñ created in 1995 but struck down by an injunction issued last year by US District Court Judge David Hamilton Ñ requires patient counseling with a medical professional 18 hours prior to a scheduled abortion. US Seventh Circuit Court Judge John Coffey wrote: “Pro-life legislation that fails to pose a substantial obstacle for 87 to 90 percent of a state’s women is reasonable, sensible and lawful under the Constitution of the United States and the State of Indiana,” reported the Indianapolis Star. However, dissenting Judge Diane Wood argued that shifting the mandate from telephone to in-person counseling was unduly burdensome, particularly for women in rural areas where access to clinics is already difficult. Wood furthered: “Legislative history of the Indiana statute reveals no reason whatsoever for imposing a two-visit requirement for the dissemination of the required information.”

According to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, 22 states mandate waiting periods for abortions. Mississippi, Louisiana, Utah, and Wyoming require in-person counseling.


Associated Press 9/16/02; Indianapolis Star 9/17/02; Center for Reproductive Law and Policy 3/30/01, 9/02

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