Judge Blocks Abortion Ban for Race, Sex, Disability

News: Life and Family
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 7, 2016   

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INDIANAPOLIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - A federal judge has blocked Indiana's law banning abortions of babies due to their race, sex or fetal disability. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt blocked House Bill 1337 the day before it could take effect on July 1.

The bill was signed into law by Indiana's Governor Mike Pence in March. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in April sued the state on behalf of Planned Parenthood, claiming the law places an undue burden on women's access to abortion, restricts freedom of speech and violates women's privacy rights.

When granting the preliminary injunction last Thursday sought by Planned Parenthood, Judge Pratt ruled that the state doesn't have the authority to limit a woman's reasons for ending a pregnancy. In her ruling, Pratt held that limiting the reasons for an abortion is "inconsistent with the notion of a right rooted in privacy concerns and a liberty right to make independent decisions."

Pratt expressed her opinion that it's unconstitutional for states to restrict a woman's so-called right to abort her baby prior to the 24-week stage, after which the baby is considered viable outside the mother's womb.

Governor Pence's office states he is disappointed with the judge's decision. The governor's spokesperson, Kara Brooks, commented after Thursday's ruling that the governor "remains steadfast in his support for the unborn, especially those with disabilities."

Indiana state senate president David Long related that the attorney general intends to review Pratt's decision to temporarily block the law before deciding if he'll appeal the ruling.

In March, when Gov. Pence signed the bill into law, he remarked that it "affirms the value of all human life." Pence said he signed the law "with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families."

Mike Fichter, chief executive for Indiana Right to Life, says Pratt's ruling "denied the civil rights of unborn children" and is "an appalling human rights injustice."

In addition to banning abortions based on the unborn baby's sex, race, or suspected prenatal disabilities, HB 1337 also requires that children who are aborted must be buried or cremated instead of being discarded as medical waste. Because of the injunction, Planned Parenthood can continue disposing of the bodies from aborted babies via incineration along with medical waste.


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