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U.S. appeals court blocks Indiana abortion law, calling it unconstitutional



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Bloomington's Planned Parenthood is located on South College Avenue. In 2016, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit and gained an injunction after the Indiana General Assembly passed Housing Enrolled Act 1337.  IDS File Photo Buy Photos

A U.S. appeals court declared an Indiana abortion law unconstitutional in an April 19, 2-1 ruling.

In 2016, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit and gained an injunction in response to the Indiana General Assembly passing Housing Enrolled Act 1337. The injunction was made permanent last fall, and Indiana's attorney general appealed.

“PPINK was confident that the courts would rule that the restrictions imposed by HEA 1337 violated the Constitution,” said Christie Gillespie, President and CEO of PPINK, in a press release. “Every person deserves the right to make their own personal decisions about abortion. There was no medical basis for these restrictions.” 

The bill, which was signed by Then-Gov. Mike Pence, banned abortions based solely on "race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability," according to the bill itself. 

Under HEA 1337, an abortion sought for one of those specific reasons, even if before the period of viability, would still be illegal. 

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit also struck down a separate provision of HEA 1337 requiring abortion providers to dispose of aborted fetuses just as they would human remains, through burial or cremation. 

Circuit Judge Daniel Manion dissented from the decision in part because of the provision concerning fetal remains.

"With respect to the fetal remains provision, however, I am not so constrained," Manion wrote. "I would hold that it is a legitimate exercise of Indiana’s police power. Therefore, I respectfully dissent from that portion of the court’s opinion.   

In his dissent, Manion called it regrettable an abortion could be performed simply because an unborn child has a genetic disability. 

However, Manion was clear that after the 1992 Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey case, any form of the non-discrimination clause was a likely to be a violation of a woman's right to seek a pre-viability abortion.

Dominick Jean

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