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Indianapolis abortion clinic lawsuit challenges Indiana laws on disposal of fetal remains

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, contends that requirement and other Indiana statues requiring the same disposition method for fetal remains following a miscarriage violate the Constitution because they force the state’s definition of a person onto women who might not share the same beliefs.

Posted: Dec 22, 2020 5:55 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis abortion clinic is suing the state of Indiana, challenging provisions of a state law upheld last year by the U.S. Supreme Court requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated after an abortion.

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, contends that requirement and other Indiana statues requiring the same disposition method for fetal remains following a miscarriage violate the Constitution because they force the state’s definition of a person onto women who might not share the same beliefs.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on behalf of the Women’s Med Group abortion clinic in Indianapolis, its owner, two nurse practitioners who work at the clinic and three women listed only as Jane Does, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The complaint states that Indiana’s “Tissue Disposition Laws coerce pregnant people who obtain abortion and miscarriage management care to engage in rituals that are associated with the death of a person.”

“These laws also send the unmistakable message that someone who has had an abortion or miscarriage is responsible for the death of a person,” the suit adds. “As a result, they have caused many abortion and miscarriage patients, including Jane Doe Nos. 1, 2, and 3, to experience shame, stigma, anguish, and anger.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky previously sued the state in 2016 after Vice President Mike Pence signed a law with the fetal disposition provision into effect in 2016 when he was Indiana’s governor.

Indiana appealed the lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the law in May 2019, allowing the state to enforce the requirement that abortion clinics either bury or cremate fetal remains following an abortion. The high court’s decision reversed a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court that had blocked it. The justices said in an unsigned opinion that the case does not involve limits on abortion rights.

But Stephanie Toti, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit, told The Indianapolis Star that she felt court’s response to the previous lawsuit left open the possibility to challenge the state’s laws as unconstitutional because they “trample on everyone’s beliefs.”

“They said they’re rational, they’re not arbitrary or capricious, but that doesn’t mean they’re not constitutional,” Toti said Tuesday. “So the Supreme Court’s decision almost invited a second challenge.”

Republican state Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a statement that he believes the lawsuit will fail.

“We took our fight for Indiana’s law on the disposition of fetal remains all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we won,” Hill said. “We are now reviewing this latest lawsuit, but I can tell you now that we will once again defend humanity, and I am quite confident that Indiana’s law will continue to stand strong.“

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0421

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107047

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284921459
Cuyahoga1155972204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524821040
Summit48339999
Lucas43303817
Butler38901603
Stark33286929
Lorain25641502
Warren24557303
Mahoning22330601
Lake21135385
Clermont20097252
Delaware18817135
Licking16645222
Fairfield16561204
Trumbull16522479
Medina15593270
Greene15252246
Clark14219306
Wood13280197
Portage13226214
Allen11905239
Richland11598211
Miami10835223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9020230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8649122
Marion8635138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7137179
Hancock6996131
Ross6933161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6528104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5436125
Darke5415129
Seneca5343126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387277
Preble3847103
Clinton378466
Ottawa372681
Highland359265
Williams347578
Champaign343658
Guernsey324153
Jackson317354
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2698101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196748
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
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