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Indiana appeals ultrasound abortion law to Supreme Court

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February 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Indiana is asking the United States Supreme Court to hear its case for the constitutionality of an embattled 2016 law requiring Indiana abortionists to give women ultrasounds of their unborn babies at least 18 hours before having an abortion.

Originally signed into law by former governor and current Vice President Mike Pence, House Enrolled Act 1337 requires abortionists to offer women the opportunity to see images of their preborn babies, but does not force women to view them.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt originally blocked the law’s enforcement last year, and the 7th Circuit upheld that decision in July. Back in April, the 7th Circuit also upheld Pratt’s rejection of the law’s provisions requiring burial or cremation for aborted babies and forbidding abortions that specifically targeted genetic abnormalities.

In her majority opinion, Judge Ilana Rovner claimed the law constituted a “large barrier” to obtaining an abortion rather than merely persuasion. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. now wants the Supreme Court to weigh in on that judgment, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports.

“The Seventh Circuit’s decision in this case illustrates why the balancing test of Hellerstedt does not make sense in the context of statutes designed to protect fetal life,” Hill’s petition argues. “The court held that the Ultrasound Law violates the Constitution because the significant burdens imposed on women’s access to abortion...outweigh the ‘very small impact of the law on persuading women to choose life.”

“[T]he panel’s conclusion necessarily raises the question: what number of fetal lives must be saved before the benefit of the statute outweighs its burdens?” he asked. “Surely fifty percent would be sufficient, but what about twenty-five percent or even ten? Or what if, despite all Indiana’s efforts, only one woman is persuaded by the ultrasound to carry her pregnancy to term? What dollar amount in burdens is her unborn child’s life worth?

“Surely the Constitution does not require this type of utilitarian calculus,” Hill argued.

Informed consent is extensively regulated without objection in most areas of medicine, and the American Medical Association calls informed consent “fundamental in both ethics and law.” Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which otherwise upheld legal abortion, that states can require abortion seekers to wait 24 hours.

The Times notes that it may be several months before the Supreme Court announces whether it will take the case; in the meantime, the justices may announce this month whether they will hear another lawsuit over the law’s provision banning abortions sought specifically due to a baby’s race, sex, or disabilities.

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