Photo credit: Victoria Pickering via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Will This Pro-Life Indiana Law Provoke a Supreme Court Showdown?


The state of Indiana passed a crucial pro-life law in 2016, banning abortions based on the genetic abnormalities of the unborn child. Now, the state is asking the Supreme Court to uphold the law.

Signed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was still the governor of Indiana, House Enrolled Act 1337 is comprehensive pro-life legislation. Among other things, the law “prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.”

It is the second part of that specific provision that is most important. Across the world, there has been a cultural push toward aborting babies with genetic abnormalities instead of giving them a chance at life. Denmark is a horrifying example of this: In working toward a goal of a “Down’s syndrome free society,” all but four unborn babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth were aborted in the year 2016.

“The right to abortion declared by our Supreme Court protects only the decision not to bear a child at all, not a right to decide which child to bear,” stated Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. “Our nation knows only too well the bitter fruits of such discrimination.”

The law also includes language that requires aborted babies to be either cremated or buried. This prohibits the contracts that abortion clinics in the state have drawn up with with waste management companies, ending the practice of burning aborted babies as biohazard waste.

Since being signed into law, this legislation has faced legal obstacles at every turn. Therefore, Indiana’s Department of Health filed a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Commissioner of Indiana Department of Health v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana. This case will present two specific questions to be ruled on:

  1. Can a state require abortion clinics to dispose of aborted human remains in the same way they would be mandated to dispose of any other human remains?
  2. Can states mandate that abortionists determine the reason a woman seeks an abortion in accordance with a prohibition of selective abortion?

“Nothing in the Constitution prohibits states from requiring health facilities to provide an element of basic human dignity in disposing of fetuses,” Hill explained. “These tiny bodies, after all, are in fact human remains.”

It has yet to be seen whether or not this case will be taken up by the Court.

Photo credit: Victoria Pickering via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kelvey Vander Hart

Kelvey Vander Hart is passionate about Jesus, conservatism, fitness, and fantastic coffee; she is also the Associate Editor at Caffeinated Thoughts. She can be followed on Twitter @kovanderhart.

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