In a victory for pro-choice activists, a U.S. District Judge in Indiana struck down a portion of an informed consent law that required women seeking abortions to receive state-mandated information in person 18 hours before obtaining the procedure. Under the March 30 ruling, women can get the information over the phone, eliminating the “two-trip requirement.” Hamilton, a judge in the lowest-level federal court, argued that evidence presented by the plaintiffs demonstrated that the in person requirement imposed an undue burden on women’s “constitutional right to choose to end a pregnancy.”
The plaintiff’s case was argued by the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP), an Indianapolis attorney, and the Indiana Civil Liberties Union. CRLP argued that the in-person requirement, which essentially forces women to make two trips to the clinic, “is particularly burdensome for women seeking second-trimester abortions” because only one clinic in the state performs abortions after the first trimester. In his ruling, Judge Hamilton argued that evidence suggested that any reduction in the number of abortions in the state would result from the “additional burden” of having to make a second trip to the clinic, and that the law would force many women to travel out-of-state to receive abortions. The state Attorney General may appeal the case, especially as a similar Wisconsin informed consent/mandatory waiting period statute was upheld by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a higher federal court.
Get more information on informed consent and mandatory waiting periods from the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy.