A federal court has lifted an injunction against an Indiana abortion law requiring ‘mature minors’ to notify their parents before having an abortion – a move that comes as the Indiana General Assembly considers a legislation that would enact a near-total ban on abortions statewide.
7e The Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction on the parental notification law on Wednesday in the case of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. v. Kristina Box, et al., 17-2428. The law states that minors deemed “mature” enough to have an abortion without parental consent must always inform their parents of the procedure, except in cases where parental notification would endanger the well-being of the minor girl.
The law, the Senate Registration Act 404 of 2017, was signed into law in June 2017 before it could go into effect.
7e Circuit upheld the injunction in 2019, then later denied a rehearing and a bench rehearing.
The state then filed a cert petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, which dismissed the case in July 2020. The high court ordered the 7e Review circuit of the law on mature minors in the light of the decision in June Medical Services LLC v Russo, 591 United States __ (2020).
7e Circuit upheld the remand injunction, and the state again filed a motion for cert.
Following last month’s historic decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which ended the constitutional right to abortion, the High Court returned the case to the 7e Circuit for a third revision.
Next Dobbs, the state has sought to lift injunctions against a slew of abortion regulations in Indiana. 7e On Wednesday, Circuit granted that request regarding the Mature Minors Act.
“It’s clear that Dobbs requires that the part of the preliminary injunction prohibiting the application of the parental notification requirement in the Indian Code § 16-34-2-4 (b), (d) and (e) judicial circumvention proceeding be and is hereby VOID,” the Wednesday order reads.
The appeal panel added: ‘The other parts of the preliminary injunction raise different constitutional issues, were not challenged on appeal and remain in effect.’
Specifically, the lawsuit challenged two other portions of SEA 404 that were not at issue in the mature minor appeal.
The first was the requirement that doctors who perform abortions on unemancipated minors obtain not only written consent from a parent, but also official identification from the parent and “some evidence” that the adult is the parent or legal guardian of the minor. Along the same lines, plaintiffs challenged a warrant requiring physicians to sign an affidavit certifying that to the best of their “information and belief, a reasonable person … would rely on the information … as sufficient proof of identity and of the relationship”.
The second challenged provision was the prohibition on aiding or assisting a pregnant unemancipated minor to have an abortion without the required consent.
The case against SEA 404 was remanded for further action.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a staunchly anti-abortion Republican, celebrated Wednesday’s decision to lift the injunction.
He noted that this was the fourth time since Dobbs that a federal judge has lifted an injunction against an Indiana abortion law, including injunctions against a law banning a common second-trimester abortion procedure and a law banning race-based abortions , gender, or disability of the unborn child, as well as an injunction against many of Indiana’s abortion regulations.
The lifting of the injunctions comes as Indiana lawmakers are in a special session that is expected to result in legislation banning abortion statewide in most cases.
The introduced version of the legislation – which received almost no support from proponents or opponents of abortion – prohibited abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to protect a mother’s life. But the bill has already been amended to narrow those exceptions and allow for criminal penalties against doctors who perform illegal abortions.