Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc. v. Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, et al.
What's at Stake
In May 2017, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Indiana, challenged a law creating unnecessary obstacles to abortion for people under 18 years of age. The lawsuit was filed against the Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health.
The law challenged by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood — SEA 404 — added unnecessary and dangerous restrictions to Indiana’s existing parental consent law, which a federal court agreed would endanger young people in vulnerable circumstances. Under longstanding precedent, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a person under 18 who is unable or unwilling to obtain parental consent for an abortion must be allowed to seek authorization for the abortion from a judge if they are sufficiently mature to make the decision or that an abortion is in their best interest. Indiana has long had such a procedure.
SEA 404 would thwart the purpose of this confidential alternative by requiring that a minor’s parents to be notified that the minor is pregnant and seeking an abortion, even where a judge has already determined that the minor is mature enough to make the decision. The evidence in the case demonstrated that this law would harm young people and obstruct their access to abortion care.
In 2017, a federal district court blocked the law from taking effect, concluding that it “places an unjustifiable burden on mature minors in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.” And on August 2019, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. Indiana has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, and the Supreme Court has yet to address Indiana’s request.
The law is not currently in effect.
Victory: Appeals Court Upholds Block on Unconstitutional Abortion Restrictions