An Indiana judge has found for abortion giant Planned Parenthood in a suit brought against HEA 1337, a state law banning gender-selective abortions and those based on a prenatal diagnosis of disabilities such as Down syndrome.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, an Obama appointee, has issued a permanent injunction against Indiana’s “Sex Selective and Disability Abortion Ban” in a 22-page decision, saying that provisions of the law “violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
HEA 1337 was signed into law in 2016 by Governor and now Vice President Mike Pence, and prohibited abortions based on the sex or race of the child or a prenatal diagnosis of “Down syndrome or any other disability.” The law also required that the remains of aborted babies be disposed of in a dignified fashion proper to human remains, rather than merely thrown out in the trash.
In her ruling, Judge Pratt defended sex-selective and disability-based abortions, stating that “it is a woman’s right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the State to examine, let alone prohibit, the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice.”
“The right to a pre-viability abortion is categorical,” Pratt declared, regardless of the particular motivation that drives a woman to seek it.
By this logic, the decision to eliminate an unborn child simply because the child is black, or a girl, or has Down syndrome must be protected.
Last June, Judge Pratt granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated women’s privacy rights. At that time, the judge indicated her belief that the Indiana law would go against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have declared states may not prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion before a fetus is able to live outside the womb.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said Monday that he intends to appeal the permanent injunction, stating that Judge Pratt’s ruling paves the way for “genetic discrimination.”
“By declaring unconstitutional a state law that would bar abortions based solely on race, sex or disability such as Down syndrome, a federal judge has cleared the path for genetic discrimination that once seemed like science fiction,” Hill said Monday in a statement to IndyStar.
“This state has a compelling interest in protecting the dignity of the unborn and in ensuring they are not selected for termination simply because they lack preferred physical characteristics,” Hill declared.
“Further, requiring that the remains of deceased unborn children be accorded at least the dignity of low-cost burials or cremation is hardly an impingement of anyone’s individual rights,” he added.
Indiana Right to Life, a pro-life group, echoed the Attorney General’s criticism that the ruling is ultimately discriminatory.
“We are deeply disappointed that Planned Parenthood can discriminate against unborn children and target them for abortion,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Obama-appointed Judge Pratt do not represent the majority of Hoosiers.”
“It’s a shame that Planned Parenthood cares more about their bottom line than recognizing the worth of children with Down syndrome,” he said. “No one should be targeted for abortion solely because of their sex, race, national origin or a potential disability like Down syndrome.”
At the moment North Dakota is the only other state that forbids abortions based on a prenatal diagnosis of disabilities such as Down syndrome, but a “Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act” is also is working its way through the legislative process in Ohio.
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