INDIANAPOLIS (CN) - An "utterly irrational" Indiana law will force Planned Parenthood to build a "surgical recovery room" at a clinic where no surgeries are performed, Planned Parenthood claims in court.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky sued the Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health and the Prosecutor of Tippecanoe County, in Federal Court.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) "operates a number of surgical abortion clinics in Indiana and they are fully licensed as required by Indiana law and comply with all applicable regulations for abortion clinics," the lawsuit states. "PPINK also operates an office, in Lafayette, Indiana, that does not perform surgical abortions. However, a physician in the clinic does prescribe and dispense, as a tiny percentage of the medications prescribed at the office, medication through the first nine weeks after a woman's last menstrual period that induces an abortion after the medication is taken and the patient leaves the office. On information and belief, the PPINK Lafayette Clinic is the only freestanding entity in Indiana where this form of abortion, referred hereafter as a 'non-surgical abortion,' is offered in a setting where surgical abortions are not also performed."
On July 1, Indiana amended its law on abortion clinic standards to include any clinic that provides medication inducing an abortion in the definition of "abortion clinic," even if it does not perform any surgeries at the facility, PPINK says.
"Accordingly, as of January 1, 2014, the Lafayette clinic will have to conform to regulations and requirements designed for, and imposed upon, surgical clinics, even though the Lafayette clinic does not perform any surgical procedures. Imposing requirements for such things as surgical scrub facilities and surgical recovery rooms, when there is no surgical procedure ever performed at the clinic, is not only unreasonable, it is utterly irrational and unrelated to any legitimate objective the State seeks to attain by imposing such requirements, and to the extent that Indiana law and the Department's regulations impose these requirements on PPINK's Lafayette clinic the law and regulations are unconstitutional," PPINK says in the complaint.
Non-surgical abortion medication accounts for a "minuscule percentage" of drugs dispensed at the Lafayette clinic, Planned Parenthood says.
"In the 12 months ending July 1, 2013, 54 women chose to have a mifepristone nonsurgical abortion at PPINK's Lafayette clinic.
"During this same time period, other medications - primarily contraceptives - were dispensed or prescribed more than 10,000 times at the clinic.
"In addition to not performing surgical abortions, PPINK's Lafayette clinic does not offer any other surgical procedures.
"Therefore, the clinic, which is in rented space, does not have, and does not need, such things as rooms for surgical procedures, scrub facilities, or recovery rooms.
"The clinic consists of a waiting room and receptionist area, four examination rooms, a patient and employee restroom, four small offices, storage areas, and a staff break room.
"It would be a significant and unnecessary expense to renovate the clinic space to add such things as procedure and recovery rooms that would not be used at all for those purposes," according to the complaint.
Planned Parenthood wants enforcement of the new regulations enjoined.
It is represented by Kenneth Falk with the American Civil Liberties Union.