INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A federal judge has granted an injunction against an Indiana law that bans the murder of unborn children based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis or any other disability, but stops short of ending all abortion in the state.
“Indiana does not allow a fetus to be aborted solely because of the fetus’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability,” the bill, introduced by Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, reads.
It outlines that the other disabilities include physical and mental disabilities, disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, albinism and amelia.
Indiana Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, told reporters that the bill is needed as physicians sometimes encourage mothers to abort because of the child’s health or abnormality.
“What we hear from doctors is, ‘It would really be better off if you were not born,’” she lamented. “If you are born, we will love you, and we think you have equal rights and should be a member of society. In fact, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act and have to make accommodations. But we don’t want to make the accommodation before you’re born, and in fact, it would really be easier if you were not born.”
The legislation also provides requirements surrounding the disposition of babies who are aborted, requiring that they either be buried or cremated, in order to keep fetal remains out of landfills.
But the abortion giant Planned Parenthood soon filed suit—with the assistance of the ACLU— asserting that the law interferes with mothers’ wishes to have an abortion.
“This statute does something that the United States Supreme Court has said repeatedly cannot be done,” Ken Falk of the ACLU of Indiana told reporters. “It is an attempt by the state of Indiana to interfere with and actually prohibit a woman’s right to determine whether or not to have an abortion. That is a right that the United States Supreme Court has stressed that a woman absolutely has and cannot be prohibited.”
“The Supreme Court has said that there cannot be an undue burden placed on a woman’s right to an abortion. That’s the current law. This is not an undue burden—this is an absolute prohibition. You just can’t do that,” he said.
On Thursday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, appointed to the bench by Barack Obama, granted Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction against the law, opining that it would likely be found unconstitutional. She said that U.S. Supreme Court precedent outlines that states may not ban abortion before viability—the ability of the child to survive outside of the womb.
“It is a woman’s right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the state to examine the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice,” Pratt wrote.
She also disagreed with the disposition requirements in the legislation, remarking that the court doesn’t legally consider “fetal tissue,” or the bodies of unborn babies, as being the same as human remains.
“To be clear whether or not an individual views fetal tissue as essentially the same as human remains is each person’s own personal and moral decision,” Pratt stated. “The court cannot resolve this moral question. But as a legal question, there is currently no basis which would allow this court to recognize fetal tissue as such.”
Indiana officials are now considering an appeal.
“This ruling is an appalling human rights injustice and we urge the state to appeal,” Indiana Right to Life also said in a statement. “Abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood turn to activist judges anytime they believe their lucrative businesses are threatened.”