Attorney General Todd Rokita and his team won yet another court battle this week defending the dignity of life.
This time, the team secured a decision in the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding — for the second time — an Indiana law requiring medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains following abortions.
“The bodies of unborn babies are more than mere medical waste to be tossed out with trash,” Attorney General Rokita said. “They are human beings who deserve the dignity of cremation or burial. The appellate court’s decision is a win for basic decency.”
In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this same law against a challenge claiming that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
In the latest case, former abortion patients who preserved their fetal remains claimed the law requiring burial or cremation violates the First Amendment’s free speech and free exercise clauses.
“Given the Supreme Court’s earlier decision upholding this very law, we were perplexed that the U.S. district court somehow found the plaintiffs’ arguments persuasive,” said Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher. “The appeals court provided a fast — and much-needed — course correction.”
The appeals court refuted the notion that Indiana’s burial-or-cremation requirement jeopardizes anyone’s First Amendment liberties.
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“A moral objection to one potential implication of the way medical providers handle fetal remains,” the court’s opinion states, “is some distance from a contention that the state compels any woman to violate her own religious tenets.”
The court issued a summary reversal without full briefing or oral argument — disposing the entire case based on Indiana’s motion to stay the injunction.
Attached is the appeals court’s decision.
Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter issued this statement in response to the U.S. Seventh Circuit’s lifting of the injunction against Indiana’s humane final disposition law for aborted babies:
“We are thankful Indiana’s law requiring the humane burial or cremation of aborted babies is back in effect. The Seventh Circuit is making it clear challenges like the one brought against Indiana’s law will no longer succeed in federal court, following the Supreme Court’s full reversal of Roe vs. Wade in its Dobbs decision. We thank Attorney General Todd Rokita for moving swiftly to defend Indiana’s law before the Seventh Circuit.”