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ACLU Sues Indiana Over Ban On Second Trimester Abortion Method

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana sued the state Thursday less than a full day after its governor signed into a law a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions.

The ACLU, a nonprofit legal and advocacy group, filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging House Enrolled Act 1211 (HEA 1211), which bans dilation and evacuation abortions. The group filed its suit on behalf of two Indiana abortion doctors who perform second-trimester abortions.

Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the measure into law on Wednesday. The measure prohibits dilation and evacuation abortions except in cases where a woman otherwise would suffer “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

Dilation and evacuation is a procedure used for second-trimester abortions when women are 13-24 weeks pregnant. The method involves pulling apart the limbs of the fetus so that they can be extracted from the womb. Dilation and evacuation abortions are usually performed after 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Suction, or vacuum aspiration, is another second-trimester abortion method. Suction is the most common procedure used for abortions when women are 14-16 weeks pregnant, according to Planned Parenthood. The method uses “gentle suction to empty your uterus,” Planned Parenthood says, and in-clinic abortions usually take less than 10 minutes.

Under the HEA 1211, a physician who violates the law would be charged with a Level 5 Felony and face up to six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, according to Rewire News.

The ACLU’s lawsuit asserts that HEA 1211 is unconstitutional and puts an undue burden on women seeking abortions in the second trimester. “HEA 1211 will discourage women from obtaining abortions and will impose a substantial and unwarranted burden on women’s ability to obtain second-trimester, pre-viability, abortions,” ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a Thursday press release.

“In addition, doctors have an ethical obligation not to subject their patients to potentially harmful procedures that provide no medical benefit. This law would force doctors to do just that,” Falk added.

The law was slated to take effect July 1 but will likely be blocked following the ACLU’s suit.

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