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Abortion counseling law takes effect in Indiana

WASHINGTON (BP)–Women in Indiana now will have to receive counseling in person before undergoing an abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by a federal appeals court that upheld an Indiana law requiring pregnant women to get counseling from a healthcare provider 18 hours before having an abortion. The high court announced Feb. 24 it would not accept the case.

“This is a victory for women, and it’s a victory for common sense,” said Dan Steiner, president of the Central Indiana Crisis Pregnancy Center, according to The Indianapolis Star. “I hope it educates them better on a life-changing procedure that they’ll be experiencing. Information is power.”

According to the newspaper, the information to be provided during the counseling session includes a description of the abortion method, its risks and the gestational age of the unborn child. An exemption from counseling is allowed when a woman’s life or physical or mental health are in danger, the paper reported.

Indiana is among only five states that require in-person counseling from a health professional before an abortion, with similar laws in Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah and Wisconsin, The Star reported.

The 1995 law never has been totally enforced because of legal challenges, according to the newspaper. A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago voted 2-1 last fall in support of the law’s constitutionality, the paper reported.

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