INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
A federal judge permanently struck down provisions of an Indiana law passed
last year that would have banned abortions sought due to fetal genetic
abnormalities and required that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.
U.S. District Judge
Tanya Walton Pratt’s decision, issued Friday, found that those two
provisions and a third one are unconstitutional. She granted an order
permanently blocking all three from being enforced and 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.
restrictions violate women’s due process rights under the Constitution and
conflict with rulings by numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court,
upholding a woman’s right to seek an abortion before a fetus could viably
survive outside the womb, Pratt wrote in her ruling.
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
Indiana is now
permanently barred from enforcing a restriction that would have banned
abortions sought because of a fetus’ genetic abnormalities, race, gender or
ancestry. Pratt’s order also permanently blocks a requirement that abortion
providers tell women that Indiana prohibits such abortions, and another
provision that would have required that aborted fetuses be buried or
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.”
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.
then-Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, did not appeal Pratt’s June 2016 order
temporarily blocking the provisions.
Attorney General Curtis Hill said Monday that he’s disappointed by Friday’s
ruling and plans to appeal the order to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in
Hill said in a
statement that 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.”
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.