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.