Indiana’s 18-Hour Ultrasound Law To Go Back Into Effect After State’s Largest Abortion Business Drops Suit

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s 18-hour ultrasound law will go back into effect on January 1, 2021, as a result of Indiana’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, conceding it will not win its suit which has blocked the law since 2017. The ultrasound law, part of the 2016 Dignity for the Unborn Act signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, requires that women considering abortion be provided the opportunity to view a fetal ultrasound at least 18 hours prior to an abortion.

A significant decline in abortions is expected in Indiana as a result of the ultrasound law going back into effect. From July through December 2016, while the ultrasound law was in effect, there were 496 fewer abortions in Indiana compared to the period of July through December 2017, when the ultrasound provision was blocked and abortions spiked to a 13 percent increase.

The concession underscores that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU did not feel they could win the suit in the Seventh Circuit in the wake of this summer’s June Medical Services vs. Russo decision by the Supreme Court. Two days after the June Medical Services ruling, the Court vacated a previous Seventh Circuit ruling blocking the ultrasound law and remanded the case back to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration.

On August 7, the impact of the June Medical Services ruling was felt as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were dealt a blow by the Eighth Circuit when it lifted injunctions against multiple pro-life laws in Arkansas.

“Indiana’s ultrasound law will save lives,” states Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter. “Women deserve the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of their unborn baby at least 18-hours before an abortion in order to have ample opportunity to reconsider an abortion. In the brief time this law was in effect in 2016, abortions dropped sharply in Indiana, only to rise quickly as soon as the law was blocked. Now we hope to see abortions drop once again, this time for the long term. We regret, however, that this life-saving law will not go back into effect until January.”

In a release earlier today, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill stated, ““For women considering abortions, ultrasounds are an important part of informed-consent counseling. Anyone interested in protecting women’s health, including their mental health, should support giving them as much information as possible to aid their decision-making. Empowering women with knowledge is fully consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

Fichter is skeptical of Planned Parenthood’s claim that new ultrasound equipment at its office in Fort Wayne drove its decision to drop the suit. “Planned Parenthood is dropping this suit because it fears it won’t win now that the new standard of June Medical Services is being applied by the courts,” Fichter notes. “This move is to cut legal costs in what it knows will be a losing battle. The courts have clearly abandoned the Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt framework from 2016, and that’s great news for pro-life laws moving forward.”

Fichter also raised deep concern that the move is just another step in the direction of Planned Parenthood attempting to operate an abortion business in Fort Wayne, stating, “With Planned Parenthood, connecting the dots means it always comes back to the business of abortion. Always.”

When asked by the Seattle Times in 2019 if Planned Parenthood intends to do abortions in Fort Wayne, its CEO Chris Charbonneau replied, “Absolutely”.

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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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Supreme Court Reverses Seventh Circuit On Issue Of Humane Disposal Of Aborted Babies

US supreme court building

Ruling Means Aborted Children Can No Longer Be Treated As Common Medical Waste Or Garbage

INDIANAPOLIS – The United States Supreme Court today reversed a U.S. Seventh Circuit ruling blocking Indiana law requiring the humane disposal of aborted babies. The ruling means aborted children in Indiana must now be buried or cremated, not discarded as common medical waste.

“Indiana law prohibits abortion providers from treating the bodies of aborted children as “infectious waste” and incinerating them alongside used needles, laboratory-animal carcasses, and surgical byproducts.,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurrence. “I would have thought it could go without saying that nothing in the Constitution or any decision of this Court prevents a State from requiring abortion facilities to provide for the respectful treatment of human remains.”

In the same ruling, the Court ruled it would not hear Indiana’s appeal regarding the civil rights of unborn children based on race, sex, Down syndrome, national origin or disability.

“Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever,” wrote Thomas.

Indiana Right to Life is reviewing the full ruling and will issue a statement later today.

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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