Federal Judge Strikes Down Indiana Ban on Abortions of Babies With Down Syndrome
A federal judge struck down an Indiana law on Friday that protected unborn babies from discrimination based on their sex, race or abilities.
RTV 6 reports Judge Tonya Walton Pratt, an Obama appointee, permanently blocked the law in a ruling Friday, claiming the law is unconstitutional. Last summer, she temporarily halted the law at the request of the Planned Parenthood abortion chain.
The law made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortions on babies with Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. Then-Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill in 2016 to protect unborn babies from being aborted simply because of a disability, race or sex.
House Bill 1337 would ban abortion doctors from knowingly aborting an unborn baby solely because of a genetic disability such as Down syndrome, the unborn baby’s race or sex. The bill also has several other abortion-related measures, including a requirement that aborted or miscarried babies’ bodies be cremated or buried and another requirement that abortionists who have hospital admitting privileges renew them annually. The burial/cremation requirement backs up a law passed in 2015 requiring that aborted babies’ bodies be disposed of in a humane way.
It is not clear if the state will appeal Pratt’s ruling.
Here’s more from Courthouse News:
Indiana had tried to justify the law by claiming that the state’s interest in potential life was enough to support the provision and the ban on selective abortions.
Judge Pratt disagreed, writing, “The lack of authority supporting the state’s position likely stems from the fact that it is contrary to the core legal rights on which a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to viability are predicated.”
In addition to the part of the law that banned selective abortions, the judge also struck down another provision dictating how the remains of a fetus are to be handled. The state said the remains of a fetus should be treated the same way under law as the remains of a deceased person.
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The abortion chain Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky celebrated the victory. Leader Christie Gillespie told reporters that there was no medical basis for the law.
“Every person deserves the right to make their own personal decisions about abortion. There is no medical basis for these restrictions. This is just another example of politicians coming between physicians and patients,” Gillespie said.
Indiana Right to Life predicted that Pratt, who was appointed by pro-abortion President Barack Obama, would block the Dignity for the Unborn law. Pratt has a history of siding with the abortion lobby. She previously blocked provisions of a 2011 Indiana law that denied taxpayer funds to abortion businesses and required that pregnant women be told about an unborn child’s ability to feel pain.
In an email to LifeNews, Mike Fichter of Indiana Right to Life said he was disappointed by the ruling. He said Indiana’s largest abortion company, Planned Parenthood, will continue to be able to abort unborn children for the sole reason of the child’s sex, race, national origin or a potential disability like Down syndrome. Indiana abortion providers will also continue to treat the remains of unborn children as common medical waste.
“We are deeply disappointed that Planned Parenthood can discriminate against unborn children and target them for abortion,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Obama-appointed Judge Pratt do not represent the majority of Hoosiers. Our state took a proactive step in protecting the civil rights of unborn children by passing the Dignity for the Unborn Act in 2016. It’s a shame that Planned Parenthood cares more about their bottom line than recognizing the worth of children with Down syndrome. No one should be targeted for abortion solely because of their sex, race, national origin or a potential disability like Down syndrome.”
He said: “Judge Pratt’s ruling is sadly predictable, based on her previous track record. We urge Attorney General Curtis Hill to appeal.”
Pratt’s ruling continues her long-history of siding with the abortion industry. In March, Pratt sided with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU in their lawsuit against Indiana’s ultrasound requirement in the Dignity for the Unborn Act that specified an ultrasound be done at least 18-hours before the abortion (Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is appealing the ultrasound ruling). Pratt also blocked provisions of a 2011 Indiana law that denied taxpayer funds to abortion businesses and required that pregnant women be told about an unborn child’s ability to feel pain.
Indiana state Sen. Liz Brown, who worked on the legislation, previously said many families face pressure to abort from doctors or other health care professionals when their unborn babies are diagnosed with a disability. LifeNews has documented numerous cases of families saying the same thing.
“What we hear from doctors is — it would really be better off if you were not born,” Brown said. “If you are born, we will love you, and we think you have equal rights and should be a member of society. In fact, we have the Americans with Disabilities Act and have to make accommodations. But we don’t want to make the accommodation before you’re born, and in fact, it would really be easier if you were not born.”
In 2013, North Dakota became the first state to pass a similar bill to protect unborn babies from abortions because of disabilities. A handful of states also ban abortions based solely on the baby’s sex.