Reproductive Freedom issue image


Status: Ongoing
Last Update: January 10, 2019

What's at Stake

In April 2016, the ACLU, the ACLU of Indiana, and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) filed suit against the Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health challenging key features of a state law that would strip a woman of the ability to decide for herself whether or not to end a pregnancy.

First, the law would bar a woman from obtaining an abortion if she decided to end her pregnancy because of a concern that the fetus has a disability, including a life-threatening one, or because of the sex, race, national origin, or ancestry of the fetus. Second, the law mandates that embryonic and fetal tissue from an abortion or miscarriage be cremated or buried.

In June 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law’s challenged provisions. The district court held that the law violated the core holding of Roe v. Wade, which forbids a state from banning abortion prior to fetal viability. The court also held that there was no rational basis for the state’s requirement that the tissue be buried or cremated. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the preliminary injunction in July 2018. As a result of these rulings, the law has not gone into effect.

In October 2018, the State of Indiana requested the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the 7th Circuit’s decision. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood opposed that request in December of 2018.

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