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Whole Woman’s Health Alliance v. Rokita (Indiana)

(S.D. Ind. No. 1:18-cv-1904 / 7th Cir. Nos. 19-2051, 21-2480, 21-2573 / Sup. Ct. No. 19-743)

In recent years, Indiana politicians have mounted a relentless attack on people seeking and providing abortion care, enacting an increasingly complex web of laws that limit the availability and affordability of abortion for Indiana residents.  This lawsuit sought to improve abortion access in Indiana and enable people to obtain abortion care without sacrificing their dignity or well-being.

In May 2019, the district court entered a preliminary injunction authorizing Whole Woman’s Health Alliance to open a new abortion clinic in South Bend, Indiana, despite the State’s unjustified refusal to grant it a required license. The preliminary injunction, which was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit, enabled the clinic to provide medication abortion in a region of Indiana that otherwise lacked abortion providers.  Nearly three years later, the State finally agreed to grant the South Bend clinic a license to provide abortion care in exchange for the plaintiffs’ agreement to dismiss certain claims from the lawsuit.

The other claims went to trial.  Afterward, the district court entered a judgment declaring the following Indiana laws unconstitutional and permanently enjoining their enforcement:

  • a ban on qualified, advance-practice clinicians (APCs) providing medication abortions;
  • a requirement that second-trimester abortions be provided in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center (ASC);
  • medically unnecessary physical plant requirements for abortion clinics;
  • disclosure laws that require abortion providers to recite false and misleading information to their patients and distribute medically inaccurate materials;
  • an eighteen-hour waiting period for abortion patients; and
  • a ban on using telemedicine to provide medication abortion and pre-abortion counseling.

While the case was on appeal, the Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Woman’s Health Organization, which overruled nearly fifty years of precedent holding that the Constitution protects abortion access as a fundamental right.  As a result, the Seventh Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment.

Subsequently, in a stipulation of settlement, the parties agreed that the State would remove certain false and misleading language from a perinatal hospice brochure published by the Indiana Department of Health and the plaintiffs’ remaining claims would be dismissed without prejudice.

The South Bend clinic remains licensed and continues to provide abortion care to people in the region.

Plaintiffs:

Defendants:

Attorney General of the State of Indiana, in his official capacity; Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, in her official capacity; President of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, in his official capacity; St. Joseph County Prosecutor, in his official capacity

Co-counsel:

Lara Flath; Amy Van Gelder; Michael Powell; Kathrine D. Jack

Timeline and Key Documents:

June 21, 2018

Plaintiffs file Complaint

March 28, 2019

District court enters Order denying Defendants’ motion to dismiss

April 22, 2019

District court hears oral argument on Plaintiffs’ motion for Preliminary Injunction

May 1, 2019

Defendants file Answer to Complaint

May 31, 2019

District court enters Preliminary Injunction

June 2, 2019

Defendants file Notice of Appeal

June 7, 2019

District court enters Order denying Defendants’ motion to stay the injunction pending appeal

June 21, 2019

Court of appeals enters Order denying motion to stay the injunction pending appeal and modifying the Preliminary Injunction

July 11, 2019

Court of appeals hears oral argument

August 22, 2019

Court of appeals issues Opinion affirming the Preliminary Injunction as modified

December 9, 2019

Defendants file Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Supreme Court challenging Preliminary Injunction

February 20, 2020

Plaintiffs file Brief in Opposition to Petition for Writ of Certiorari

July 2, 2020

Supreme Court denies certiorari

October 9, 2020

District court enters Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment

March 15-18, 2021

District court conducts trial (part 1)

June 23-25, 2021

District court conducts trial (part 2)

August 10, 2021

District court enters Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law following trial

August 19, 2021

District court enters Judgment

August 25, 2021

Defendants file Notice of Appeal

September 8, 2021

Court of appeals enters Order staying the district court’s judgment pending appeal

October 20, 2022

October 21, 2022

District court enters marginal order dismissing the case without prejudice

SEVENTH CIRCUIT BRIEFS

Preliminary Injunction Appeal

Appellants’ Brief (Attorney General of the State of Indiana, et al.)

Appellee’s Brief (Whole Woman’s Health Alliance)

Amicus Briefs Supporting Appellants

Amicus Briefs Supporting Appellees

Final Judgment Appeal

Appellants’ Brief (Attorney General of the State of Indiana, et al)

Appellees’ Brief (Whole Woman’s Health Alliance; All-Options, Inc.; Jeffrey Glazer, M.D.)

Appellants’ Reply Brief

Amicus Briefs Supporting Appellants

Amicus Briefs Supporting Appellees

SUPREME COURT BRIEFS

Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (Attorney General of the State of Indiana, et al.)

Brief in Opposition (Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, All-Options, Inc.; Jeffrey Glazer, M.D.)

Reply Brief of Petitioners

Amicus Briefs Supporting Petitioners

Related Media

January 4, 2022

Media Advisory: Seventh Circuit to consider host of Indiana abortion restrictions blocked this summer by district court

August 10, 2021

Press Release: Federal District Court Permanently Blocks Several Long-Standing Indiana Abortion Restrictions 

June 28, 2021

Media Advisory: Indiana Health Care Providers, Pregnancy Resource Center Recount Harms Caused by Abortion Restrictions 

June 17, 2021

Press Release: Second Phase of Trial Begins Next Week in Whole Woman’s Health v. Rokita, a Legal Challenge to Multiple Indiana Abortion Restrictions

March 19, 2021

Media Advisory: Indiana Health Care Providers, Patients and Pregnancy Resource Center Detail Harms Caused by Abortion Restrictions; State Relies on Discredited, Anti-Abortion Activists in Defense

March 11, 2021

Press Release: Trial Begins Next Week in Legal Challenge to Multiple Indiana Abortion Restrictions