MERRILLVILLE — People still can obtain reproductive and other health services at the Planned Parenthood facility in Merrillville — even though a new Indiana law prohibits doctors from performing abortions at the clinic.
Planned Parenthood officials confirmed its Merrillville health center, 8645 Connecticut St., is remaining open for contraception services, gender-affirming care, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment and other health care needs.
“Planned Parenthood remains fully committed to Indiana. We aren’t going anywhere,” said Katie Rodihan, Planned Parenthood communications director.
Senate Enrolled Act 1, which took effect Thursday, prohibits all abortions in Indiana from the moment of conception, except within 10 weeks of fertilization for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, or 20 weeks if necessary to prevent serious physical impairment or the death of a pregnant woman, or because of a lethal fetal anomaly.
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The statute, approved Aug. 5 by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, also shuts down abortion services at Planned Parenthood clinics by requiring every abortion be completed in a hospital or hospital-owned surgical center, and it puts doctors at risk of losing their medical license if they fail to sufficiently justify the legal basis for an abortion.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, a total of 1,145 abortions, or 13.6% of the state’s total, were performed last year at the Planned Parenthood facility in Merrillville.
A lawsuit challenging the constitutional legitimacy of the abortion restrictions, filed by the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, is set for a hearing Monday in Bloomington.
A separate lawsuit claiming the near-total abortion ban runs afoul of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is scheduled for review next month by an Indianapolis court.
In the meantime, Hoosier women still can access abortion care through Planned Parenthood just across the state line at 19831 Governors Hwy. in Flossmoor, Illinois.
Records show Indiana was the first state to legislatively impose new abortion restrictions following the June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that rescinded the right to abortion established by the high court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Meet the 2022 Northwest Indiana legislative delegation