United States Supreme Court remands Indiana ultrasound, parental notification appeals to Seventh Circuit; cert denied in South Bend abortion clinic licensing appeal

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The United States Supreme Court today took action on three Indiana appeals over abortion-related cases.

In two separate Indiana appeals, the Court granted a writ of certiorari. The judgments in these two cases are vacated and both remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for further consideration in light of the June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo decision issued Monday.

One of the cases involves Indiana law requiring the notification of parents when a minor daughter seeks a judicial bypass to have an abortion. This law is blocked by the Seventh Circuit.

The second case, involves Indiana law requiring that women seeking abortions be given the opportunity to view an ultrasound of their unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. This law is also blocked by the Seventh Circuit.

In a third appeal, the Court denied cert in a case involving the licensing of the Whole Women’s Health Association abortion clinic in South Bend. The denial of cert means the South Bend abortion clinic can continue to operate as its suit against multiple Indiana pro-life laws goes forward in the courts. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill argued a federal judge’s order allowing the clinic to operate without a state license is unconstitutional.

“We are very disappointed in the Court’s denial of Indiana’s licensing appeal, but are cautiously optimistic that the ultrasound and parental notification appeals will find success in the Seventh Circuit”, states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “We are very thankful for the relentless effort Attorney General Curtis Hill has given to defending Indiana’s pro-life laws in the courts.”

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2,411 Aborted Babies To Receive Humane Final Burial On Wednesday in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, IN – The Indiana Office of Attorney General announced today that the 2,411 aborted babies discovered on the property of late abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer will be memorialized at a burial service this Wednesday, February 12, at Southlawn Cemetery in South Bend.  The service will commence at 1 p.m. EST.  Attorney General Curtis Hill will offer remarks on behalf of the State of Indiana.

“This is a heartbreaking reminder that the world lost something of enormous value when these little lives were cut short by abortion,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter.  “We pray that the dignified and humane burial of these children is not the end of their story, but will serve as a constant reminder why we must always speak up when the God-given value of human life is denied.”

Indiana law, recently upheld by the United States Supreme Court, requires the humane burial or cremation of babies aborted in Indiana.  Prior to enforcement of the 2016 law, aborted babies in Indiana, as in most states today, were discarded as common medical waste.

“We are grateful but saddened for this opportunity to mourn for the lives lost and the families broken by the violence of abortion. This is a tangible reminder of the inhumanity and horror of the abortion industry. Abortion is the ultimate form of dehumanization; it poisons, dismembers, and kills the most innocent among us,” states Right to Life of Michiana Executive Director Jackie Appleman. “We are burying 2,411 human remains; we are not burying 2,411 ‘missed periods’, ‘pregnancy tissue’, or ‘uterine contents’.”

For those unable to attend on Wednesday, Right to Life Michiana, Right to Life Northeast Indiana, and Lake County Right to Life will host a memorial service at Southlawn Cemetery on Sunday, February 23rd at 3:00 pm..

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Five Quick Facts About The Indiana SCOTUS Ruling

1. The Supreme Court ruled on two separate parts of Indiana’s Dignity for the Unborn Act (HEA 1337) signed into law by then-Governor Mike Pence in 2016:

1) The requirement that aborted babies be treated humanely by disposition of burial or cremation; and

2) A prohibition on abortions solely for the purpose of an unborn child’s race, sex, national origin, potential disability or Down syndrome.

2. The Court reversed a Seventh Circuit ruling that blocked Indiana law requiring the humane disposal of aborted babies through burial or cremation. Since 1973 and until this ruling, aborted babies in Indiana have been treated as common medical waste or garbage. One former abortion clinic employee testified before an Indiana legislative committee that she watched aborted babies being flushed down a drain into the Indianapolis sewer system.

3. The Supreme Court decided not to consider the issue concerning the civil rights protections, but did leave the issue open for future consideration, noting, “Our opinion likewise expresses no view on the merits of the second question presented, i.e., whether Indiana may prohibit the knowing provision of sex, race, and disability selective abortions by abortion providers. Only the Seventh Circuit has thus far addressed this kind of law. We follow our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal issues that have not been considered by additional Courts of Appeals.”

4. The Court’s opinion was issued per curiam, meaning an opinion by the Court as a whole that does not identify any particular justice as the author. Justice Thomas wrote a concurring opinion while Justice Ginsberg wrote a dissenting and concurring opinion stating she would have denied Indiana’s petition for review in its entirety. Justice Sotomayor stated separately that she would have denied the petition in its entirety.

5. The Court is also expected to decide soon if it will hear Indiana’s appeal on another provision of HEA 1337 requiring that a woman considering an abortion be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn baby at least 18 hours prior to an abortion. The ultrasound provision is currently blocked by the Seventh Circuit, leading to a rise in abortions in Indiana.

Supreme Court Recognizes Humanity of Unborn in Indiana’s Fetal Remains Law

Denial to Hear Indiana’s Unborn Civil Rights Law is Disappointing, but Court May Hear Issue in the Future

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an order reversing the judgment of the Seventh Circuit regarding the disposition of fetal remains by abortion providers and establishing a victory for the pro-life movement. Unfortunately, it also denied hearing a second Indiana provision, the portion of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Law that prohibits abortions because of the child’s sex, race, national origin or a potential disability, like Down syndrome.

“The Supreme Court gave the pro-life movement a major victory by upholding Indiana’s fetal remains law,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “The court sided with Indiana that unborn human remains must receive dignified disposal. Humane disposal takes us one step closer to recognizing the dignity of unborn children. Aborted children may no longer be treated as medical waste or garbage. Instead, these precious lives will be required by law to receive a burial or cremation.

“We are deeply disappointed the Supreme Court denied certiorari of the civil rights portion of the Dignity Law. Indiana was on the cutting edge of extending civil rights protections to the unborn. Justice Clarence Thomas made clear in his remarks that the issue of civil rights protections for the unborn must be addressed by the Supreme Court. He called out Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, for using abortions to further eugenics. We are hopeful one day the Supreme Court will recognize the civil rights of the unborn.

“Here we now have a troubling dichotomy that cannot stand: on one hand we recognize aborted children have dignity and are not garbage, on the other hand the court refuses the inherent, God-given dignity of each unborn child by recognizing their civil rights. This once again places Roe on a collision course with itself. Rest assured, Indiana will continue leading the charge in the effort to protect life.”

A provision of the Dignity for the Unborn Law regarding ultrasounds was appealed separately to the Supreme Court. The Court has not given any indication on how it will rule on that case.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

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