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Indiana plans to appeal abortion law order, attorney general says

September 25, 2017

Indiana plans to appeal a federal judge's order that permanently blocks the state from banning abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities and from requiring that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

Attorney General Curtis Hill said Monday in a statement that he's disappointed by Friday's ruling and plans to appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued the order.

Pratt's ruling says the provisions violate women's due process rights under the Constitution and "directly contravene well-established law."

Hill said the ruling clears "the path for genetic discrimination that once seemed like science fiction." He added that the law's fetal disposal provision "is hardly an impingement of anyone's individual rights."

Pratt's decision granted summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which had sued the state in April 2016 after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed the provisions into law.

"The challenged anti-discrimination provisions directly contravene well-established law that precludes a state from prohibiting a woman from electing to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability," the judge wrote.

Pratt's order makes permanent her preliminary order issued in June 2016—a day before the law was set to take effect— that temporarily blocked the provisions from being enforced.

Indiana is now permanently barred from enforcing a restriction, which also banned abortions sought because of a fetus' race, gender or ancestry.

As for the fetal disposal provision, Pratt wrote that she could find no legal basis for Indiana to require health care providers "to treat fetal remains in the same manner as human remains."

"Stated otherwise, if the law does not recognize a fetus as a person, there can be no legitimate state interest in requiring an entity to treat an aborted fetus the same as a deceased human," she wrote.

Christie Gillespie, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, praised Pratt's ruling and said the group was confident the judge would find that the restrictions violate the Constitution.

"There is no medical basis for these restrictions. This is just another example of politicians coming between physicians and patients," she said.

 

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