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Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Health Inspections: ‘Unconstitutional’

WASHINGTON DC- JUNE 09: President and CEO Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards onstage at the 2016 Planned Parenthood Action Fund Membership Event held during the Planned Parenthood National Convention at Washington Hilton on June 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/WireImage)
Jennifer Graylock/WireImage

Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit against Indiana over the state’s law that requires abortion clinics to be inspected annually for health and safety issues.

“Once again Indiana politicians are barging into the exam room with irrational demands and intrusive requirements,” said Jane Henegar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana, which filed the suit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK), reports the Associated Press.

In addition to a provision requiring annual health inspections of abortion clinics, the Indiana law also requires medical providers who treat women for complications due to abortion procedures to report patient information to the state.

The provision “imposes unique and burdensome obligations,” Planned Parenthood argued in the lawsuit, claiming such complications “are both extremely rare for abortions and are more likely to occur after other medical procedures.”

Planned Parenthood took in nearly $544 million in taxpayer funding last year, according to its latest annual report, and claims to be a “women’s healthcare” provider, though the number of many of its non-abortion services has been in decline. The abortion vendor also boosted its profits by $21 million – 27 percent – from the previous year.

Christie Gillespie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in a statement that the new law “is not about patient safety.” She said abortion “is already incredibly safe.”

Gillespie added the law’s provisions are “yet another attempt by politicians to shame and stigmatize pregnant Hoosiers and spread the myth that abortion is dangerous.”

However, in 2016, Americans United for Life (AUL) provided a 200-page report titled Unsafe: The Public Health Crisis in America’s Abortion Clinics Endangers Women. The report echoes the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell who, in 2013 was found guilty of murdering babies born alive during abortion and in the death of one of his patients.

The AUL report also challenges the narrative put forward by abortion advocates that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Texas case of Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt prevents state legislatures from requiring health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

“This report is the tip of the iceberg as too many state officials are turning a blind eye to this red-light district of medicine,” said AUL’s then-vice president of legal affairs Denise Burke and the author of the report.

“The abortion industry willingly sacrifices women’s health and safety in their ‘back alley’ clinics, prioritizing mere access to abortion over women’s health and safety,” she said, adding:

Convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell provided “mere access” to abortion, and women died in his care. During the investigation of Gosnell and his “house of horrors” abortion clinic, the grand jury found that, while there were laws on the books allowing for inspections, state officials decided not to act because of abortion politics. Women’s health and safety must not be held hostage by an abortion industry willing to put profit over people.

Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, said the new lawsuit is “sadly predictable” and that the reporting provision “brings needed transparency to the abortion industry.”

“Almost every time Indiana lawmakers pass legislation to protect women’s health and safety, the abortion giant runs to activist judges to block the laws,” Fichter said, according to AP.

The law’s provisions are to take effect on July 1.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU recently celebrated another judicial win in Indiana where the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state’s law banning abortions due to the unborn child’s disability, race, or sex is “unconstitutional.”

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