Indiana's 'Unequal Regulatory Treatment' of Abortion Clinics Is Unconstitutional, Says Federal Judge

An Indiana law defining "abortion clinics" to include facilities that prescribe abortion drugs was found unconstitutional by a federal judge Wednesday.



An Indiana law defining "abortion clinics" to include facilities that prescribe abortion drugs was found unconstitutional by a federal judge Wednesday. 

Passed by Indiana's General Assembly in 2013, the law defined any facility that offers abortion by pill—also known as medical abortion or non-surgical abortion—as an "abortion clinic", and thus subject to building and safety standards set for places that perform surgical abortions. Private physicians that offer the abortion pill, however, were exempted from the state's new regulatory requirements. 

As it stands, there's only place in Indiana that prescribes the abortion pill without performing surgical abortions and isn't a doctor's office: a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette, Indiana. The clinic is tucked away in an office alcove on the outskirts of town, a fact I know because I used to live in Lafayette and—absent health insurance or a car—trekked out there on the city bus to pick up $7 packs of birth control pills and get tested for cervical cancer.

Lafayette is not a wealthy community, nor a big one. For many low-income women, this Planned Parenthood serves as the only place to get affordable contraception, gynecological exams, STD tests, and, yes, sometimes the abortion pill. Under the new law—one of more than 200 abortion restrictions passed by Indiana's GOP-controlled legislatures since 2011, according to Bloomberg Politics—the office would have had to make costly and unnecessary renovations or stop prescribing the abortion pill. 

But with help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana, Planned Parenthood filed a suit alleging that the law is unconstitutional and makes an unfounded distinction between physician's offices and other facilities that offer abortion drugs. In yesterday's decision, Judge Magnus-Stinson sided with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, describing the 'unequal regulatory treatment' of physician's offices and other places that prescribe abortion drugs as "arbitrary" and having "no rational basis". 

"It is undisputed that a 'physician's office' with the same physical layout and amenities as the Lafayette clinic would not have to modify itself to comply with the physical plant requirements at issue because it would qualify for the 'physician's office' exception," wrote Magnus-Stinson. The court granted Planned Parenthood of Indiana's motion for summary judgement on claims that the abortion clinic law violated the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause. It denied the claim that the law violated the Fourteenth Amendment by denying patients' access to abortion. 

The case is Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky v. Commissioner

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  1. They ought to make that abortion pill over-the-counter.

    1. No, they shouldn’t.

      1. Yes they should. That’s the only moral position.

        1. Hell, I’m “pro-life” but I don’t want bans or gatekeepers on any drug. Abortifacients put all moral responsibility on the individual who choses to take them. I’m fine with that.

          1. Agreed, and it’s just another reason I oppose this end abortion by over regulatory death tactic. I mean, writing a law that only applies to one fucking place in the whole state is obviously retarded grandstanding.

            1. When that one place is engaging in the purposeful destruction of innocent human life, then it’s justifiable.

              I don’t understand how some people only have a problem with taking lives when it’s the government that’s doing it.

              1. Your type are the biggest suckers in the pro-life movement. Laws like these that affect only one fucking business and will obviously be overturned are just grandstanding pandering to people like you.

                1. One business shouldn’t be allowed to end lives, just as one government shouldn’t be allowed to end lives.

                  1. They’re not ending lives, just meaningless sacks of protoplasm.

                    1. Disregarding life by using unscientific labels to describe life flies in the face of everything that true libertarianism is meant to stand for.

                      Put the cynicism aside; I highly doubt that you would using such dehumanizing terminology if you were speaking to one of the people I mentioned. Imagine how horrifying it must feel to know that someone attempted to take your life before you were born. Insulting people who lived through that tragedy is incredibly sadistic.

                    2. Insulting people who lived through that tragedy is incredibly sadistic.

                      But forcing them to have children they can’t handle because of a twisted scientifically baseless definition of ‘life’ is totally compassionate.

                    3. You’re the one who’s scientifically baseless.

                      When you justify destruction in the name of comfort, then you might as well justify destruction in all cases. Ending lives is wrong, and like I said before, you wouldn’t have the gall to talk like this (face-to-face) to someone who survived that tragedy.

                    4. If you want to demonstrate that a blastocyst is a person, go right ahead.

                      you wouldn’t have the gall to talk like this (face-to-face) to someone who survived that tragedy.

                      Sure I would. I can be very callous and blunt.

                    5. By “callous and blunt”, do you mean rude and uncaring? That right there is an awful way of viewing the world, and it’s no different than the way even the most oppressive governments look down on their citizens.

                      A blastocyst is human, and the distinction between human and person is nonexistent.

          2. And ending someone’s life is a crime.

            1. So charge the woman in you’re the DA. Good luck getting reelected.

              1. The people who carry out these acts should be put in prison. I’ve interacted with a number of women who have regretted taking their unborn children’s lives; punishing them accomplishes nothing, since they know that what they’ve done is wrong.

                1. Manufacturing or selling an abortifacient isn’t “carrying out the act” of abortion.
                  Taking the drug while pregnant is.

                  Oh, and you’re not very good at running a sock.

                  1. I’ve been commenting here for a while now. Difference of opinion does not equal sock-puppetry.

                    “Everyone who disagrees with me must be faking it.”

                    No. Just no.

                  2. One cannot use that drug without taking someone’s life.

            2. And ending someone’s life is a crime.

              Actually – there are a lot of exceptions that allow legal homicide.

              1. When you infringe on the rights of other people by taking their lives, then you can no longer claim to support the right to life.

        2. You can’t use the word “moral” when you support ending somebody else’s life.

          1. You can’t use the word ‘moral’ when you want to jail people for ‘killing’ something less human than my dog, and you can use the word ‘rational’ when you think a cluster of cells is worth getting worked up over. ABORTION FOREVER

            1. You’re reprehensible, and your mindset flies in the face of libertarianism.

              When you state that the unborn aren’t humans, then you’re being about as unscientific as those who deny global warming because it snowed.

              When two people reproduce, you get another human being. That’s life. And screaming at the top of your lungs that you support a horrific institution such as this is nothing you should advertise to the world.

              1. When two people reproduce, you get another human being. That’s life.

                Or you take contraception and don’t get another life OR you get an abortion before it becomes a human being and again no life.

                Is there any way in which you aren’t pathetic?

                1. Is there any way in which you can argue without sounding like the folks at Being Liberal?

                  A fertilize egg is a human being. A person doesn’t just become human at birth. That’s scientifically baseless.

                  1. A fertilize egg is a human being.

                    Not it’s not. That’s utter lunacy.

                    1. What’s utter lunacy is denying facts you find uncomfortable.

  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the destruction of human life is incompatible with libertarianism. I know multiple people who survived this means of taking their lives; it’s reprehensible and should be outlawed.

    1. Embryos aren’t a meaningful human life. It’s just a bunch of cells. “ProlifeLibertarian” is a contradiction in terms.

      1. Yes, they are.

        If you say that you want to protecting life, liberty, and property, but then decide to redefine the meaning of life, you’re ignoring the basic tenets of libertarian thought. All individuals have that right.

        1. You don’t understand what ‘human life’ is. It isn’t cellular processes.

          1. Actually, I do.

            You’re the one who argues that when two people copulate, you don’t get another person. That’s “anti-science”, and it’s deeply amoral.

            1. You *can* get life after copulation, but that’s up to chance and the womb’s owner.

              1. You’re defining life to mean birth, which is inaccurate.

    2. Agreed that the destruction of human life is incompatible with libertarianism.

      However, taking my money to finance an anti-abortion regime is also incompatible with libertarianism.

      1. If you don’t want to pay taxes, then you shouldn’t be tossed in jail. But government action should be taken to combat the destruction of human life; it should not be legal.

        Think about how you feel about money, and then apply that to human life. Not saying that you should be imprisoned for not paying taxes.

    3. Well, when you can prove incontrovertibly when someone becomes a human being and not a group of cells, you let us know. I won’t be expecting your call any time soon.

      1. Shut up you clump of cells!

        PLL is a sock.

        1. Actually, I’m not.

          But way to dismiss points of view you disagree with. Not at all what liberals do.

        2. Yeah, I know, that’s what I figured, just thought I’d poke it and see.

          1. And this is why libertarians never win. Exclusivity.

            I’m more of a pro-life paleoconservative. But if you’re going to dismiss people who disagree with you, then you’re no different than liberals.

            1. BAHAHAHAHAHA. And that’s why you are laughable: you attack people and group them together on the basis of style over substance.

              1. I’m presenting arguments; you’re being dismissive of anyone who disagrees with you. It’s the Salon mindset.

                1. No you’re not. You’re just repeating your insanity over and over again.

                  1. And you’re not making any points. Just insulting me for disagreeing with you. I wouldn’t have to repeat my points so many times if libertarians were more consistent with the whole protecting life thing.

      2. We’re all clumps of cells, and that argument is incredibly outdated and erroneous. When you dehumanize individuals to that point, then it’s hard to differentiate between “libertarianism” and statism.

        1. You keep restating my points, SOCK!

          1. Because your “points” are all ad hominems.

        2. Um no I have the electrical activity creating personhood an embryo does not, and I doubt a fetus does either.

          1. That’s not how you define personhood.

            1. That’s the only meaningful definition. “Full set of chromosomes” is not meaningful.

              1. Distinct gender, race, DNA, blood type, and possibly sexual orientation are all meaningful.

    4. You and Cytotoxic are more alike than you think.

      Defining personhood and the meaning of life is not a libertarian question.

      1. Seeing as how libertarianism is supposed to include the defense of life, then yes, it is.

        It’s a matter of science. I could link you to a number of embryological texts which support my arguments.

        1. I’m pro-life so don’t link me to any of your bullshit. It doesn’t make it a political question.

          1. Each individual can’t just decide when life begins. It’s unconscionable. When individuals infringe upon the lives of others, there is a role for government.

            1. MAJORITARIANISM!

              1. That’s like saying that people who oppose acts of violence are majoritarians, because they want to keep others from initiating acts of violence.

                1. Each individual can’t just decide when life begins. It’s unconscionable. When individuals infringe upon the lives of others, there is a role for government.

                  Let me translate this…each individual can’t decide. Thus, the majority shall decide.

                  Because if you seriously believe that the answer to when life begins is IT’S OBVIOUS BITCHES, then you’re blinded by your own hubris.

                  1. And if you believe that people should each have their own definition of when life begins, then you’re a libertarian idealist.

                    Look at the embryology textbooks. Look at the sonograms.

            2. A ball of cells isn’t an ‘other’ or any kind of being.

              1. We’re all balls of cells. That kind of rhetoric stopped working ages ago.

                1. No, you just never understood it.

                  1. I don’t understand pseudo-science. Guilty as charged.

          1. Go read an embryology textbook.

        2. No you can’t.

          1. I have, and if you had, you wouldn’t be arguing otherwise.

            1. I highly doubt you even understood these articles.

              1. I highly doubt you’re capable of debating somebody without resorting to insults.

  3. “For many low-income women, this Planned Parenthood serves as the only place to get affordable contraception, gynecological exams, STD tests, and, yes, sometimes the abortion pill.”

    Oh, for crying out loud, this again? If PP simply obeyed the statute, they’d be perfectly free to provide gynecological exams, STD tests, free puppies, and whatever non-abortion-related services they wanted. They only risked closing because they think their abortion pill business is more important than all those other wonderful things they say are so important.

    And once, again, ENB can choose: She can deplore how laws like this impose “limits on abortion access,” or she can say that the reduction in abortion rates rebuts the prolifers, but she can’t say both at once. If prolife laws restrict abortion access, then these laws are one of the *causes* of the lower abortion rates.

    1. And if lower abortion rates are a good thing, they you *don’t* want to make Planned Parenthood’s operations easier.

    2. “OBEY”, yelled the angry Catholic theocrat.

      1. I’m not sure what religion he is, but I certainly don’t a two-thousand-year-old book to tell me that destroying human life is wrong.

        1. You keep jabbering on about human lives while weeping over the ‘destruction’ of CELLS.

          1. We’re. All. Cells.

            I care about all human lives. I care about the lives of people who are in the womb/who are unborn, people who are impacted by war, people who are impacted by the death penalty, and people who are targeted by all acts of violence.

            1. Life. I know it when I see it.

              1. Evidently, you don’t. Saying that life doesn’t begin at conception because you can’t see it is shortsighted. It’s like saying that atoms don’t exist because my eyes can’t detect them.

  4. I wonder if the Feds’ position on this regulatory environment might apply to other areas?

    1. I’ve found that big-government advocates only support deregulation when it comes to this heinous destruction of human lives. When it comes to economic ventures which don’t destroy human life, no dice.

  5. Welp, looks like this thread has solved the abortion debate once and for all. Sure glad that’s over.

    1. Who ever said anything about online debates actually solving problems?

  6. For many low-income women, this Planned Parenthood serves as the only place to get affordable contraception, gynecological exams, STD tests, and, yes, sometimes the abortion pill.

    Wait, I though PPACA fixed all that.

    1. Another reason to repeal PPACA. Any bill which supports the destruction of human life should be tossed.

  7. Fantastic precedent. I hope they can apply it to every other form of business. Nobody should be subject to unequal regulatory treatment, regardless of their choice of occupation.

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