After national controversy surrounding the Planned Parenthood abortion businesses’ sale of aborted babies and aborted baby body parts, then Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law a new measure providing that aborted babies may be buried or cremated.
The new law, passed years before Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade, would help stop the kind of sale of aborted babies and their body parts that Planned Parenthood facilities in other states have been caught arranging. Although Roe v. Wade prohibits states from banning abortions, pro-life advocates in Indiana believed the aborted baby ought to at least be treated respectfully even if the abortion clinic treated the baby with disrespect before the abortion.
But Planned Parenthood sued to stop the law from being enforced and the lawsuit eventually made its way to the Supreme Court.
Today, in an unsigned order, the Supreme Court allowed Indiana to enforce the law. The court issued an unsigned order, without any opposition, turning away a legal challenge from an abortion business and abortionists to the pro-life law. The challengers argued that the Indiana law violated their constitutional rights and claimed unborn babies are not people.
The Supreme Court previously upheld the law in 2019 before the Dobbs decision changed the legal landscape on abortion. At that time, it ruled that states had a legitimate interest in how human remains were disposed of after abortions.
The court did not explain its decision today to not to hear the case.
Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter applauded the decision in comments to LifeNews.
“Every baby killed from abortion in Indiana should receive the dignity of burial or cremation. Before this law was passed, aborted babies were treated as common medical waste, dumped into landfills, and even flushed into sewer systems. Their lives should never have been taken from them in the first place, and until abortion ends in our state, we must at least give these babies their final dignity,” he said.
Fichter continued: “We are hopeful today’s Supreme Court ruling is the end of the road for stonewalling challenges from Indiana abortion businesses. We call on the Indiana Department of Health to confirm through inspections that all licensed Indiana abortion businesses are complying with Indiana’s humane final disposition law. If any abortion businesses are found to be noncompliant, their licenses should be immediately revoked.”
A federal district court approved the challenge and ruled in favor of the abortion advocates, but in November 2022 the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit invalidated that ruling and reinstated the law.
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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita fought for the law in court, arguing that that “unborn babies are more than mere medical waste.”
“They are human beings who deserve the dignity of cremation or burial,” Rokita said after the appeals court ruling. “The appellate court’s decision is a win for basic decency.”
The aborted fetal remains law (SEA 329), establishes rules as to how abortion facilities must dispose of aborted babies and allows the pregnant woman to choose a different method at her own expense (i.e. burial). As testimony revealed, the Indianapolis Planned Parenthood facility was disposing of aborted babies down a drain into the sewer system, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) implemented emergency disposal rules but they were blocked until today.
The law ensures all health-care facilities, including abortion clinics, appropriately dispose of the bodies of babies killed in abortions.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Denise Burke commented previously on the case:
“Indiana law helps ensure that deceased unborn infants receive proper burials—a law that the high court upheld. Tragically, many states do not ensure that the bodies of miscarried, stillborn, or aborted infants are treated with dignity. Unborn infants shouldn’t be disposed of as ‘medical waste’ when they die before birth, regardless of whether their deaths are spontaneous, accidental, or induced. Further, the broken bodies of aborted infants shouldn’t be exploited for scientific experimentation. Since the horrific 2015 revelations that Planned Parenthood harvested and sold the body parts of aborted infants—including brains, hearts, livers, lungs, and muscle tissue—it has become apparent that this must be addressed in state law. No incentive or needless opportunity should exist for such gruesome exploitation.”
“This law creates rules for how to appropriately dispose of aborted fetal remains,” sponsoring legislator State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne). “Establishing standards brings respect to the woman, abortion staff and the aborted child. These standards require the facility to dispose of the baby’s remains properly, unless the woman chooses to bury her baby. Hoosiers want their government to ensure the bodies of aborted babies are treated with dignity and this law accomplishes that.”