Today, the Supreme Court agreed to a compromise regarding a restrictive Indiana anti-abortion, upholding part of the law that regulates the disposal of fetal remains while dismissing an appeal to reinstate the part of the law that banned abortions on the basis of fetal characteristics.
The court’s decision argued that regulating fetal remains “does not implicate our cases applying the undue burden test to abortion regulations.” The Indiana law requires that remains from abortions or miscarriages must be buried or cremated following the regulations for other human remains.
However, the other provision of the law banned women choosing to have an abortion because of the sex or race of the fetus or because of a real or “potential diagnosis” of a disability. The Seventh Circuit wrote in their decision that “these provisions are far greater than a substantial obstacle; they are absolute prohibitions on abortions prior to viability, which the Supreme Court has clearly held cannot be imposed by the state.” The Supreme Court upheld the Seventh Circuit’s decision and this part of the law was stricken.
The Indiana law was signed in 2016 by Vice President Mike Pence, then the governor of Indiana, and was the first anti-abortion case to come before the Supreme Court since Brett Kavanaugh replaced Justice Kennedy. Many abortion advocates watched this case closely to see how the Supreme Court would potentially rule on anti-abortion state laws, many of which have been passed recently.
Media Resources: Washington Post 5/28/19; New York Times 5/28/19; Feminist Newswire 5/16/19