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Planned Parenthood sued, then a judge struck down this pro-life law

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A Planned Parenthood lawsuit has resulted in an Indiana pro-life law being ruled unconstitutional. (Laura Segall/AFP/Getty Images)

Planned Parenthood has successfully blocked an Indiana law that would have made abortions solely on the basis of race, gender or disability illegal, after a federal judge struck down the law as unconstitutional Friday.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the American Civil Liberties Union sued to block the law shortly after it was signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence.

Notably, Planned Parenthood acknowledged that it has and will continue to provide abortions solely on the basis of Down syndrome, or even the possibility of a diagnosis, even though  abortions for that reason are likely to increase over time due to a greater availability of testing.

What did the law say?

You can read the full text here. Some key points below:

  • "Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability."
  • Abortion providers must inform patients "[t]hat Indiana does not allow a fetus to be aborted solely because of the fetus’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability."
  • "Provides for disciplinary sanctions and civil liability for wrongful death if a person knowingly or intentionally performs a sex selective abortion or an abortion conducted because of a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other disability."

Why did the judge rule against the law?

Here is the full decision. In summary, the court ruled that the Indiana law violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; specifically, it violates privacy rights under the Due Process clause in that amendment.

The court also ruled that the mandates in the law run contrary to the precedent set by Roe v. Wade granting women the ultimate decision-making power over whether to get an abortion.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said he intends to appeal the court's decision.

"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 said.

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