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Judge Blocks Indiana's 'Abortion Reversal' Law From Taking Effect

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FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman
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IPB News

A federal judge Wednesday blocked a major part of Indiana’s latest anti-abortion law from taking effect. The halted provision deals with a controversial "abortion reversal" protocol.

Medication-induced abortions require people to take two separate pills. The 2021 law, HB 1577, forces doctors to tell patients that "some evidence suggests" those abortions can be “reversed” by not taking the second pill.

Abortion providers sued, arguing that requirement violates doctors’ First Amendment rights.

Federal Judge James Patrick Hanlon agreed. The Trump appointee said the state can only force doctors to provide “truthful, not misleading” information. And he said Indiana did not provide sufficient evidence to show the abortion reversal language meets that standard.

READ MORE: Federal Judge Hears Arguments In Indiana Abortion Reversal Lawsuit

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Hanlon noted that the state could still tell people about abortion reversal through, for instance, providing that information on the Indiana Department of Health website – particularly because physicians are already required to direct patients to that website before an abortion.

"But the First Amendment is directly implicated when the State takes the same message and forces medical providers to recite it," Hanlon said in his decision.

This is the ninth time over the last decade Indiana has been taken to court over a newly-passed anti-abortion law. The state has lost, at least initially, in every single one.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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