Rep. Bacon: State should appeal recent abortion ruling

Posted by: Hannah Carlock  | Monday, July 11, 2016 9:30 am

Recently a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against parts of an Indiana law before it went into effect at the beginning of this month. The portion of the law in question protected unborn children from abortions based solely on discrimination, such as having been diagnosed with a disability or identified as a certain gender. Another element of the law that was suspended required the remains of aborted or miscarried children at medical facilities be handled with dignity, such as burial or cremation.

I have written the governor and Indiana’s attorney general asking that the state appeal the judge’s ruling. However, we should all bear in mind that this is only a preliminary injunction that prevents the law from taking effect. It is not the court system’s final decision on the constitutionality of the law.  

When House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1337 was first introduced in the House earlier this year, it focused solely on protecting the dignity of unborn babies to ensure that they do not end up in landfills, which had happened. Currently, when an abortion or miscarriage occurs, the baby is categorized as biohazard material. It was discovered that surrounding states dumped their “biohazard material” into Hoosier landfills. This law would have prevented this from happening. Contrary to the court’s recent ruling, human remains are not medical waste or biohazard material. Human remains should not be treated as such and should properly be laid to rest.

As a state representative, it is my belief that the state of Indiana plays a pivotal role in protecting and preserving all life by upholding the dignity of the unborn. I co-authored this legislation due to my personal belief all life is valuable, so I am disheartened this judge viewed this as likely to be unconstitutional and thus issued the injunction. It is worrying that the court system claims that treating fetal remains with the dignity of human remains is not a legitimate interest of our state. I believe our case has sound legal standing, or we would not have voted this measure to become law in the first place.

Despite this court ruling, not all of HEA 1337 was blocked from becoming law on July 1. Here are the parts of that legislation that still went into effect earlier this month:

  • Prohibits the transport of fetal remains into, or out of, Indiana unless it is for the sole purpose of the final disposition of those remains;
  • Requires health providers to give a mother information from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) about perinatal hospice care if her unborn child has been diagnosed with a fatal condition;
  • Provides that mothers will have one-on-one private meeting with their provider, so they can ask personal and intimate questions about a potential upcoming abortion procedure;
  • Changes the form filled out before the “Termination of Pregnancy” to include the sex of the child if known and the diagnosis of the mother or baby if an abortion is done for health reasons;
  • Requires that a fetal ultrasound must be done during the 18-hour informed consent visit before the abortion instead of making the mother come back for an additional visit unless the mother gives written consent to opt out of the ultrasound; and
  • Requires Indiana’s hospital admitting privileges with the ISDH be updated annually and that all hospitals in the county or surrounding counties of an abortion facility are notified of the doctor’s admitting privileges or written agreements with other physicians’ admitting privileges in the case of an emergency.

Currently, the Indiana attorney general’s office is considering whether to appeal the injunction or not. It is my hope the state will not take this verdict lightly and appeal the judge’s ruling.

I look forward to continuing this discussion as we work to make supporting the unborn a priority in our state. I can be reached at my office via email at h75@iga.in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9833.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

A high-resolution photo of Bacon can be downloaded by clicking here.