COVID-19 Special Coverage
Supreme Court upholds Indiana law on fetal remains, declines to address ban on abortions based on sex, race or disability
skeeze / Pixabay
Supreme Court upholds Indiana law on fetal remains, declines to address ban on abortions based on sex, race or disability

The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday on an Indiana abortion law requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains, deciding, without hearing arguments, to uphold the law.

The decision overturned the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision that Indiana’s claim that they were interested in “the ‘humane and dignified disposal of human remains'” was not a legitimate state interest. The Supreme Court noted in the per curiam decision that it had already spoken regarding “a state’s legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains.” The court went on to say, “The Seventh Circuit clearly erred in failing to recognize that interest as a permissible basis for Indiana’s disposition law.”

The court declined to hear the second provision of the Indiana law, which bans abortions based on the race, sex or disability of the fetus, referencing is own Rule 10, which says in effect that unless a legal issue has been raised by more than one court of appeals it cannot grant a petition. At this time only the Seventh Circuit has addressed this issue. This allows the Seventh Circuit’s ruling striking down this portion of the law to stand.

Justice Clarence Thomas concurred on the first question and wrote regarding the second that “laws like it promote a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurred on the second question and dissented on the first.