Planned Parenthood, ACLU may sue state to block anti-abortion law that might close clinic

Attorney calls law 'irrational'

INDIANAPOLIS - A court battle between the state of Indiana and Planned Parenthood could be looming once again.

The reproductive services group may sue to block a new state law that threatens to stop abortions at one of its clinics.

The new law requires clinics that provide abortions only through drugs like RU-486 have the same provisions as surgical clinics, even though they don't do surgeries.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ken Falk said the law singles out one clinic, the Planned Parenthood facility in Lafayette, and appears to violate the constitutional requirement that laws be rational.

"It's not rational to impose on an organization that uses a building for non-surgical reasons, it's irrational to impose on them surgical requirements," Falk said.

Planned Parenthood has consistently said it would keep the Lafayette clinic open to provide non-abortion services.

"We've been there for over 40 years, providing family planning services, and we plan to be there another 40 years," said Director of Public Policy Catherine O'Connor.

On Friday, O'Connor held out the option Planned Parenthood rejected before of remodeling the clinic to meet the surgical standards.

"I think we have to look at all of our options," she said.

Indiana Right to Life wouldn't do an on-camera interview. But spokeswoman Becky Rogness said any reaction from her group to a possible lawsuit would be "pure speculation" because they "don't know when they would file or over what."

The last time the state went after Planned Parenthood with a bill to take away its federal funding the group and the ACLU won a victory in federal court.

But Falk isn't willing to predict a repeat of that this time.

When Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law on Wednesday, he called abortion-inducing drugs very dangerous and applauded the Legislature for passing the measure.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

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