An important case about whether states can protect unborn babies from discriminatory abortions could be U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first on the issue that caused so much rancor during his confirmation hearings.
The Indiana law, which Planned Parenthood is challenging in court, bans abortions performed because of an unborn child’s race, sex or disability, such as Down syndrome. It also requires abortion and medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains.
Earlier this month, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Pro-abortion blogs and news outlets already are speculating about how Kavanaugh would rule if the high court agrees to hear it.
It’s not entirely clear how Kavanaugh, whose appointment affirmed the Supreme Court’s conservative bent, would rule on an abortion-related case, though abortion rights advocates believe he would err on the side overturning or defanging Roe, if given the opportunity. This issue arose during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, after a leaked email obtained by The New York Times indicated that Kavanaugh didn’t necessarily believe Roe v. Wade to be “settled by law of the land.”
When. Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Kavanaugh to explain what he meant, he said he was “referring to the view of legal scholars,” and described Roe v. Wade as “an important precedent” that has been “reaffirmed many times.”
The Supreme Court only takes on a tiny fraction of cases sent to it, but according to The Times Of Northwest Indiana, the court hasn’t heard a discrimination-based argument against abortion, nor a fetal remains argument, meaning that there’s a greater chance they will take it on.
Kavanaugh previously served on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. for more than a decade, where he developed an extensive record of protecting religious liberty and enforcing restrictions on abortion. Pro-life leaders believe he will do the same on the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Specifically, Kavanaugh ruled against the Obamacare HHS mandate that forced Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor and other Christian-run businesses and organizations to fund abortion drugs in their employee health care plans. Recently, he also ruled against an ACLU case to force the Trump administration to help facilitate abortions for underage illegal immigrants and refugees. His rulings upholding religious liberties and free speech also have received a lot of praise from pro-life and conservative groups.
Because of these rulings, pro-abortion groups labeled Kavanaugh a “serious threat” to “women’s right” to abortion. They spent huge amounts lobbying against him and persuading protesters to interrupt his confirmation hearings.
With conservative justices now in the majority on the high court, pro-life leaders are hopeful that they will uphold the Indiana law and begin to restore protections for unborn babies.
In 2016, then-Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana signed Bill 1337 into law, which bans abortionists from knowingly aborting an unborn baby solely because of a genetic disability such as Down syndrome, the unborn baby’s race or sex. The law also had other abortion-related measures, such as a requirement that aborted or miscarried babies’ bodies be cremated or buried.
The passage of this legislation was a pro-life victory for Indiana, which received a “F” grade from radical pro-abortion group NARAL. In September 2017, a federal judge struck down the law. Judge Tonya Walton Pratt permanently blocked the law in a ruling, claiming the law was unconstitutional. Then, earlier this year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision to strike down part of the pro-life law.
Now it is up to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.