The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy filed lawsuits against the states of Indiana and Arkansas Monday in an effort to force state-funding for abortions that are deemed medically necessary. CRLP is representing two clinics and two doctors in the Indiana suit, and eight Phoenix and Tucson health care providers in the Arizona suit.
Indiana currently banned the use of state funds for all abortions except those deemed necessary to save a woman's life or those induced by rape or incest. The lawsuit charges that Indiana's state constitution guarantees equal protection under the law for all persons by discriminating against women who suffer from conditions like hypertension, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. "The funding ban forces physicians in Indiana who treat low-income pregnant women with these and other health problems to deny these women abortions, to perform medically indicated abortions for free or very-low cost ... or to wait, closely monitoring the patient's health, until she delivers or the pregnancy becomes life-threatening so that an abortion is reimbursable," read court documents.
The Arizona suit argues that while the state "fully funds child-birth related costs, it routinely denies abortions to women with pre-existing health conditions." As does the state of Indiana, Arizona uses funds to covers the cost of abortions only when the pregnancy is life-threatening, or in cases of rape or incest.
CRLP attorney Bebe Anderson explained, "Some low-income women need abortions in order to prevent damage to their health. Sadly, Arizona denies needy women in these circumstances funding for medically necessary abortions ... This discriminatory treatment harms low-income women's health and infringes upon their constitutional rights"
Currently, 18 states fund abortions for low-income women who undergo them for health reasons, 13 of which are doing so only because court orders force them to.
Media Resources: Kaiser Family Foundation and Indianapolis Star - August 17, 1999
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