Despite a federal judge’s ruling deeming Indiana’s recent abortion ban unconstitutional, Indiana continues to support the law. On Monday, after a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against a law banning abortions sought based on genetic data (like race, gender, or abnormality), Indiana’s attorney general Curtis Hill announced his plan to appeal the decision.
Under the law, doctors and medical practitioners who knowingly performed such abortions could be sued for wrongful death, a tactic that would erode trust between patients and their doctors and police a woman’s right to choice. The invasive law also requires fetal remains be cremated or buried, which adds to the financial and emotional costs of an abortion and threatens fetal tissue donation, which is critical to medical research.
In her summary judgement, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote,“The United States Supreme Court has stated in categorical terms that a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.”
“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,” she wrote.
“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,” the judgement continued.
But, in a statement to the IndyStar, Hill argues that by “declaring unconstitutional a state law that would bar abortions based solely on race, sex or disability such as Down syndrome, a federal judge has cleared the path for genetic discrimination that once seemed like science fiction.”
“Further, requiring that the remains of deceased unborn children be accorded at least the dignity of low-cost burials or cremation is hardly an impingement of anyone’s individual rights,” Hill continued. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that he will appeal to to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Indiana is one of seven states with laws that ban abortions in cases of sex, race, or genetic selection, and more states are pursuing the controversial law. The Associated Press reports that Ohio is now considering an abortion ban that would charge doctors with a fourth-degree felony and the loss of their medical license for performing abortions on pregnant women whose fetuses test positive for Down syndrome.