$180K legal bill due after abortion law challenged

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS β€” A federal judge has ordered the attorney general's office to pay the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana more than $180,000 in legal fees for successfully challenging the 2016 genetic abnormality abortion law enacted by now-Vice President Mike Pence.

As an incentive to challenge potentially unconstitutional statues, federal law allows judges to require the government to pay a plaintiff's legal fees.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ordered a payment total of $182,499 to the ACLU of Indiana for its legal work on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

Pratt blocked the Indiana law after Planned Parenthood requested a preliminary injunction arguing the law was unconstitutional and violated women's privacy rights.

The law would have banned abortions sought because of a fetus' genetic abnormalities, genetic diseases or physical deformities.

The federal trial court in Indianapolis, federal appeals court in Chicago, and the U.S. Supreme Court all refused to allow a key provision of the law to take effect, The Northwest Times reported.

The nation's high court, however, did permit a separate provision of the law requiring abortion providers to pay to bury or cremate any embryonic or fetal remains in their possession.

β€œIn light of the fetal remains discovered in Illinois, we are especially grateful that the Supreme Court reversed the district court's earlier decision that purported to invalidate Indiana's fetal-remains law,” said Hannah Brass Greer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky's chief legal counsel.

According to an analysis of state spending records by The Times, Indiana paid more than $3 million to the ACLU between 2011 and 2020 following the group's successful challenges to unconstitutional state laws.

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