(Adds Arizona ruling in third paragraph and in paragraphs
By Susan Guyett
INDIANAPOLIS Aug 22 Planned Parenthood filed a
federal challenge on Thursday to an Indiana law requiring
clinics that administer the so-called abortion pill to have full
surgical facilities, which it says would halt abortion services
at a clinic in the state.
Under the law, Planned Parenthood would have to upgrade its
clinic in Lafayette, Indiana, to surgical standards or stop
administering RU-486, commonly called the abortion pill, it said
in a lawsuit filed in Indianapolis federal court.
Separately, the group that has been at the forefront of the
U.S. national battle over abortion won a legal fight to block an
Arizona law that would have cut off funding through the state
for its health care clinics because they also performs
Imposing surgical facility requirements on clinics where no
surgery is performed "is not only unreasonable, it is utterly
irrational ...," Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky said
in the lawsuit, which seeks a federal court injunction.
Legislators supporting the law that took effect July 1 have
said it would protect women's health. It requires clinics
providing non-surgical abortions to have separate procedure,
recovery and scrub rooms like surgical centers starting Jan. 1.
Planned Parenthood operates four of the 10 clinics that
provide abortions in Indiana. Three Planned Parenthood clinics
perform surgical abortions and administer the abortion pill at
up to nine weeks of pregnancy. The Lafayette clinic offers only
the abortion pill at up to nine weeks of pregnancy.
The Lafayette clinic provided 54 non-surgical abortions in
the 12 months ended July 1, and other medication, primarily
contraception, more than 10,000 times, the lawsuit said.
If the Lafayette clinic stops providing non-surgical
abortions, the closest clinics are 60 miles (97 km) away in
Indianapolis or 85 miles in Merrillville, Planned Parenthood
said, adding that the Lafayette clinic would continue to provide
Planned Parenthood applied on July 15 with Indiana state
health officials for a license and a waiver of the requirements.
The Indiana law exempts physician's offices from the
requirements as long as surgical procedures performed there are
not primarily surgical abortions and abortion-inducing drugs are
not the primarily prescribed drugs.
The requirements violate a woman's constitutional right to
privacy, equal protection and are "arbitrary and irrational" in
violation of a woman's right to due process, the lawsuit said.
The two-pill abortion medication called RU-486 has been
legally available in the United States since 2000. By 2008 it
accounted for about a quarter of U.S. abortions performed before
nine weeks of gestation, according to the Guttmacher Institute,
a research group that supports the right to abortion.
In the Arizona case, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco affirmed that the law robs individuals on
Medicaid of the ability to choose healthcare services. The law
would have stopped Medicaid funding for all procedures to any
healthcare provider who performed abortions.
The bill targeting Planned Parenthood was signed into law
in May 2012 by Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, with the
strong backing of socially conservative lawmakers. It came as
part of nationwide moves by abortion opponents to defund groups
like Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
Medicaid, a joint program between states and the federal
government, provides healthcare coverage for low-income
(Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix; Editing by
David Bailey, Cynthia Osterman and Lisa Shumaker)