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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Four hundred fewer children aborted in Indiana in 2019 according to new Indiana Department of Health report

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Four hundred fewer children were aborted in Indiana in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the Indiana Terminated Pregnancy Report 2019 released yesterday by the Indiana State Department of Health. The report shows 7,637 abortions in 2019, a 5% decrease from the 8,037 abortions reported in 2018. The drop in abortions ends a two-year period of increases in Indiana and is the lowest total abortions reported in Indiana since 2016.
The new report shows chemical abortions continue to rise in Indiana, with 44% of abortions now being reported as “medical” (41% in 2018) with 56% being reported as surgical (59% in 2018). The report also reveals the continuation of a disproportionately high percentage of abortions on Black/African-American women, comprising just under 32% of abortions in Indiana, while dropping slightly among Latino/Hispanic women.
Planned Parenthood remains by far the largest abortion business in Indiana with 57% of abortions. Whole Women’s Health, allowed to open in South Bend without a license through the order of a federal judge in 2019, reported 138 abortions. Marion County reported the most abortions at 5,669 followed by Lake County at 994 abortions and Monroe County at 816 abortions.  Tippecanoe County showed a large drop in abortions from 196 in 2018 to 20 in 2019, likely due to the lack of an abortion doctor working in that county for most of 2019.
Eskenazi Hospital reported 34 abortions, while Indiana University Health Methodist reported 17 abortions and Indiana University Health North Hospital reported 1 abortion.
Non-Indiana resident abortions dropped by 156 in 2019.
“While we cannot specifically point to any one reason why abortion numbers dropped overall in 2019, we are encouraged in knowing that 400 fewer children were aborted in Indiana last year. That’s the equivalent of an entire graduating class in many Indiana high schools,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. ““Yet our hearts are still broken knowing that 7,637 children were denied the right to be born, and an untold number of women now bear the physical, emotional and spiritual burdens of those abortion decisions. Meanwhile, abortion businesses in Indiana continue to enjoy a multi million-dollar revenue stream at the expense of innocent babies. The lives of all unborn children matter. We will continue to work for the day when not a single abortion is done in our state.”
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IRTL statement on SCOTUS ruling striking down Louisiana law

Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter issued the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in June Medical Services LLC vs. Russo.

“Today’s ruling is an insult to every woman who has ever been injured or placed at risk at an abortion business. Not only does this ruling undermine states’ rights to enforce health and safety regulations for abortion businesses, it places political ideology over the Constitution. This is an outrageous ruling protecting the business of killing unborn children over common sense safeguards for women.”

Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote in striking down the Louisiana law.

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IRTL-PAC endorses multiple candidates in GOP primary for Fifth Congressional District

The Indiana Right to Life Political Action Committee (IRTL-PAC) has announced these multiple endorsements in the Fifth Congressional District’s competitive Republican primary:

Micah Beckwith
Chuck Dietzen
Beth Henderson
Matthew Hullinger
Danny Niederberger
Victoria Spartz

IRTL-PAC endorsements in this race were issued based on a variety of factors, including completed candidate surveys.  No endorsement were made in the Democrat primary for this seat.

A Good Friday message from Mike Fichter

This weekend will mark the first time in my life I will not be in a physical church on Easter Sunday. Perhaps like you, I will be attending worship services online, making the most of technology and innovation during these strange and troubling days. But it won’t feel the same.

This is just one more way in which the “new normal” is changing all our lives. We are overwhelmed with daily death totals, ever-changing predictions, and a clouded uncertainty that seems to mount by the hour. Terms like social distancing, self-quarantine, and stay-at-home orders are twisting our lives in ways no one could have predicted just one month ago. These truly are uncharted waters.

The immediate spikes in video conferencing, webinars, and binge watching of streaming services is understandable, but likely not durable should this continue long term. We all know there is something much larger here, something 12 straight hours of Netflix cannot fix. The pandemic is rapidly realigning priorities, and it is reminding us all of the brevity and value of every human life.

These are the days when the world is looking for hope. Easter could not come at a better time.

In Easter we have the reminder that there is a God, and He is in complete control.

We would be mistaken to view Jesus’ death as a miscarriage of justice, or as the story of a good man caught up in a plot beyond his control. He was not a passive bystander, but an obedient servant to His Father’s will, even to the point of a brutal death on a Roman cross. Why? So that all who place their full trust in Him can be forever forgiven and forever free.  This was His mission.

He didn’t come to save the environment, establish political priorities, or make a name for Himself. He came for us, because we are all made in His image, from the very moment of our conception. The God of the universe came for us, his priceless works of art, to save us from a pandemic called sin.

If Jesus were still in the tomb, these few thoughts would be nothing more than empty rhetoric and any faith in Him would be in vain.

But the tomb is empty. Thank God, the tomb is empty.

May you and your family have a blessed Easter.

Bill underscores the humanity of each aborted baby, requires abortion clinics to fully inform women considering drug-induced abortions

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Indiana Right to Life applauds today’s passage of Senate Bill 299 by the Indiana House as a critical step in underscoring the humanity of each aborted baby while detailing what abortion clinics must tell women considering abortion about Indiana’s humane final disposition law.  The bill passed by a vote of 78-13. The bill will now move to Governor Eric Holcomb for his consideration.
A key component of the bill is a requirement that abortion clinics must inform pregnant women considering abortion-inducing drugs that, following the abortion, there will be the expulsion of an aborted baby. Abortion clinics must also allow women to return aborted babies for humane disposition by interment or cremation.
The bill also requires that abortion clinics maintain a log for each aborted baby. This log must include the date of the abortion, whether the abortion was surgical or induced by an abortion inducing drug, and whether a funeral director will be retrieving the aborted baby. In the event of a chemically induced abortion, the log must identify whether the pregnant woman will cremate or inter the aborted baby, or whether she will return the aborted baby to the abortion facility for cremation or interment.
The bill also requires that any contracts between abortion clinics and crematoriums or funeral homes must be made available for review by the state, and that copies of any burial transit permits must be kept in a permanent file. In addition, any entity receiving aborted babies for interment or cremation must confirm that the total number of aborted babies match the information contained in the burial transit and accompanying log. This section in particular will help prevent any Klopfer-like situations from ever happening again in Indiana.
“The fact that this bill addresses the humane final disposition of aborted babies underscores the humanity of each one of them,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Indiana’s current humane final disposition law, as upheld by the Supreme Court, contains grey areas we believe abortion clinics use to keep women in the dark, especially when it comes to drug-induced abortions. This bill addresses these areas and makes sure women get all the facts, including the reality that a drug-induced abortion will result in an aborted baby. We will continue working for a day when no child is aborted in Indiana. Until that day comes, this bill will make sure these children are never again treated like common medical waste in our state.”
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Seven Indiana congressional members join amicus brief in case that will impact Indiana 

INDIANAPOLIS – Seven members of Indiana’s congressional delegation are included among the 207 members of congress adding their names to an amicus brief calling for the Supreme Court to uphold a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors in that state to hold local hospital admitting privileges.

The brief states all signers, “have a special interest in the correct interpretation, application, and enforcement of health and safety standards for elective abortion enacted by the People of the States they represent.”

The case before the U.S. Supreme Court is June Medical Services, LLC, et al. v Rebekah Gee, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

The Indiana congressional members joining the brief are:

Sen. Mike Braun
Sen. Todd Young
Rep. Jim Baird
Rep. Jim Banks
Rep. Larry Bucshon
Rep. Greg Pence
Rep. Jackie Walorski

“We applaud these members of Indiana’s congressional delegation for adding their names in support of the Louisiana law,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter.  “The court’s actions regarding this case are certain to have implications on Indiana’s abortion law.”

 

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County-Wide Human Life Resolution Passes in Kosciusko County

Warsaw, IN. – Today, the Kosciusko County Board of Commissioners unanimously declared Kosciusko County to be a pro-life county by passing a resolution in support of human life.  The resolution affirms the right to life found in the Declaration of Independence and states “human life begins at the moment of conception and continues, uninterrupted, until the moment of natural death.”

The resolution encourages, “assistance for women by helping them find health care; helping mothers and fathers who make the decision to parent their child; supporting mothers and fathers who make an adoption plan for their baby and couples who seek to adopt; and encouraging businesses and schools to provide appropriate accommodations for pregnant women.” It also petitions leaders at higher levels of government to protect life, urging government to “use every legal means to protect and fight for every human life, including the lives of unborn boys and girls.”

The Kosciusko County resolution follows similar resolutions which were passed in Allen County and Indiana cities: Huntertown, Woodburn and New Haven.

“We want to thank the Board of Commissioners for their leadership in encouraging the protection of all human life,” said Dave Koontz, Executive Director of Right to Life of North Central Indiana. “This resolution affirms that Kosciusko County encourages the support for women in difficult circumstances and is a reminder that there are always ways to support and love both the mother and baby. The passing of this resolution should also be an example to other north central Indiana counties to follow.”

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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.