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  • Lucy Ceballos, center, and Isabella Soto, left, members of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Texas' abortion restrictions in front of Whole Woman's Health on Monday in McAllen, Texas. Whole Woman's Health is a abortion provider that stayed open despite the restrictions as many other providers closed over the past two years. (Nathan Lambrecht/The Monitor via AP)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 8:58 am

Coats, Stutzman upset with ruling

Brian Francisco | Washington editor

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a Texas abortion law could compromise women’s health and safety, according to two federal lawmakers who represent northeast Indiana.

Monday’s court ruling is "potentially jeopardizing the lives of both mother and child," Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said in a statement.

"This Texas state law requires abortion clinics to comply with the same standards as other medical facilities. It is a reasonable requirement that is necessary to ensure the health and safety of women and their children," Coats said. 

The high court’s decision "is a sad outcome for women and babies," Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, said in a statement.

"It is a shame people on both sides of the argument can’t even agree to basic, noncontroversial health safety standards like those required in Texas," Stutzman said.

The Texas statute, similar to laws in Indiana and other states, requires that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Indiana’s law also allows doctors to perform abortions if they have arrangements with physicians who have hospital admitting privileges.

The Texas law stipulates that abortion clinics in that state meet standards for outpatient surgery centers. Indiana has a similar requirement.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who like Stutzman and Coats is opposed to abortion rights, did not criticize the Supreme Court.

"As a pro-life Senator, I believe all life is sacred, and I am committed to protecting the sanctity of life; the Supreme Court has ruled on this case, and I respect the decision," Donnelly said in a statement.

Former U.S. House member Baron Hill, the Democratic candidate for the seat of the retiring Coats, said that Indiana’s law "should comport with the Supreme Court’s decision."

"As the father of three daughters, I support every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions," Hill said in a statement.

But Rep. Todd Young, R-9th, who also seeks Coats’ seat in the November general election and is an abortion-rights opponent, said in a statement the court ruling "defies common-sense and puts both mother and child at risk."

"The safety requirements placed on abortion providers should at the very least match, if not exceed, those of other facilities given the two lives involved," Young said.

Cathie Humbarger, executive director of Allen County Right to Life, which opposes abortion rights, said in a statement that the ruling would "jeopardize women’s health. We have seen firsthand in Allen County how admitting privilege laws protect the health and safety of women."

Fort Wayne has not had an abortion provider since 2014.

Betty Cockrum, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which supports abortion rights, said in a statement, "It’s a major victory for the Supreme Court to acknowledge that such legislation interferes with women’s legal right to abortion, and sets a good precedent for our work in Indiana and Kentucky."

A federal court ruling is expected this week on legal challenges to an Indiana abortion law scheduled to take effect Friday.

That statute would outlaw abortions sought because of fetal genetic abnormalities or the race, gender or ancestry of the fetus.

It also would require that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

bfrancisco@jg.net