The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall ...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

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June 27, 2016

SCOTUS TX Abortion 6-27-2016-web#abortionaccess

Today the U.S. Supreme Court, in the most important case on abortion in more than 20 years, invalidated restrictions placed on abortions in Texas. The 5-3 decision* will have substantial impact on the obstacles that states are allowed to put in the path of a woman who has made the decision to end a pregnancy.

In Indiana, Hoosiers await a federal court ruling in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky that challenges a new law set to take effect July 1. This law would impose a completely different set of onerous and unconstitutional prohibitions on the right to an abortion and exerts undue political influence into one of the most personal decisions a woman can make, whether and when to continue a pregnancy based upon what is best for herself and her family.

The work to protect a woman's ability to get an abortion if she needs one is far from over. In the past five years alone, politicians across the country have quietly passed more than 300 restrictions on access to abortion. It's long past time for politicians to stop interfering in a decision that should be between a woman, her family and her doctor.

Download the decision: WHOLE WOMAN'S HEALTH ET AL. v. HELLERSTEDT, COMMISSIONER, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, ET AL.

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On January 7, 2015, after more than a year in which the fate of a Lafayette, Ind. health center was in potential jeopardy, a federal judge put to rest the question of whether the state of Indiana can constitutionally implement a law that regulates a clinic offering non-surgical abortion more strictly than physicians' offices providing the exact same procedure.

"We're happy that this case is resolved, and that we can continue providing services in Lafayette uninterrupted, just as we have done for nearly 50 years," said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. "Non-surgical abortion is a safe, highly regulated procedure, and laws such as this do nothing to protect a woman's health and safety. We're grateful to our partners at ACLU of Indiana for so ably demonstrating that this law was unconstitutional."

U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson entered a permanent injunction and final judgment in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana's case on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, saying the state law passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013—Indiana Code §16-18-2-1.5(a)(2) and §16-21-2-2.5(b)—is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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For more than two years, the ACLU of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) have testified against a law that would have prohibited Medicaid patients from taking advantage of Planned Parenthood services, including preventive care such as Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control, and STD testing and treatment. The State favored such a restrictive law because it opposed letting Medicaid patients access their health care from a provider that also provided abortions, even though abortions are not provided using taxpayer dollars.

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There are extremist politicians across the country, and even here in the Hoosier state, who think we are stupid.

These politicians are proposing (and in some cases passing) extreme measures that would rob women of the services they need to make personal decisions about pregnancy and contraception free from political interference.

These politicians MUST think we are stupid if they think we want politicians playing doctor and interfering in our private decisions. Enough is enough. Now is the time for all of us to tell our elected officials to leave these decisions with a woman, her doctor and her family.

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According to the 2012 United States Census, full-time working Hoosier women earn only 73 cents for every dollar men earn. This gender pay gap is particularly critical in an economy where more than 65 percent of women are primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their households. This pay gap reduces a woman's and her family's assets by $431,000 in pay over a 40-year career.

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