Planned Parenthood Goes to Court to Deny Women an Ultrasound of Their Baby Before Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 6, 2017   |   6:44PM   |   Indianapolis, IN

Planned Parenthood lawyers urged a federal court Monday to block an Indiana law that requires the abortion industry to give women an ultrasound of their unborn child at least 18 hours before an abortion.

One of the abortion group’s objections is that its Indiana facilities do not have enough ultrasound machines, causing women to wait longer for an abortion, Courthouse News reports. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU argued their case before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

Indiana has long required that an ultrasound be done before an abortion, but, in 2016, the law was updated to require that the ultrasound be done at least 18 hours before an abortion. Women also are required to received informed consent information at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.

The abortion chain sued, and a federal judge blocked the law in April.

On Monday, lawyers for the abortion group argued against the ultrasound law – even though it is standard practice to give a woman an ultrasound prior to an abortion. Planned Parenthood leaders also have admitted that their policy requires an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion.

But the Indiana affiliate claimed the new law is placing an undue burden on women’s access to abortion because of its lack of ultrasound machines.

Here’s more from Courthouse News:

Planned Parenthood operates 17 clinics in Indiana, but only 11 have ultrasound imaging equipment, and only four perform abortion services.

This requires some women to travel quite far for abortion services. For example, a woman living in Fort Wayne would have to drive 200 miles roundtrip to have an ultrasound, then 200 miles on a different day to have the abortion.

Indiana argued in its court briefs that Planned Parenthood should reallocate its resources and buy more ultrasound machines to lessen the burden on women seeking an abortion.

But Judge Rovner said Monday she found this argument “very odd.”

“You’re arguing that, rather than have the law enjoined, as a temporary measure, Planned Parenthood should buy more ultrasound equipment at a cost of $25,000 a piece,” Rovner continued. “Where are they supposed to get the money?”

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Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher told the court, “The idea that there might be an adaptation by abortion providers is a reasonable expectation.”

ACLU Indiana attorney Kenneth Falk said women seeking abortions already have been turned away as a result of the new law.

“Women would call in and be told, ‘We don’t have any ultrasound appointments available,’” Falk said.

It is common practice in the abortion industry to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion. A study by the University of North Carolina and the pro-abortion group IPAS found that 99 percent of Planned Parenthood facilities already perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

What’s more, some of Planned Parenthood’s own executives have admitted that it is the abortion chain’s policy to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

“That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office in 2012. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

Schreiber told Commentary magazine‘s Alana Goodman:

According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards.

Schreiber said there are several options at that point. If the woman is uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, which is more invasive, she can wait until the fetus is large enough to opt for a transabdominal ultrasound.

“But if she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,” Schreiber told me.

Ultrasounds both before and after the abortion are standard procedure in the abortion industry. An ultrasound prior to an abortion helps determine the gestational age of the baby, as well as potentially life-threatening conditions such as ectopic pregnancy. After the procedure, abortion facilities typically perform another ultrasound to make sure they did not leave any parts of the aborted baby in the womb.