Abortion

ACLU Sues Over Indiana Law Creating a Protected Class of Fetuses

The new law may also require pregnant women who have miscarriages to bury or cremate their fetal remains.

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SarahInVegas/Flickr

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and is suing the state of Indiana over an abortion law that essentially creates a protected class of fetuses. The law, passed in March and set to take effect July 1, prohibits Indiana doctors from performing an abortion if they know a woman is seeking it based on the sex or race of the fetus, or because it has been diagnosed as potentially having Down Syndrome or "any other disability." The state contends that abortions of this sort amount to discrimination in violation of civil rights law. 

Any doctor who breaks this ban may be disciplined by the state medical board, held civilly liable for "wrongful death," or be charged with a felony. Fetal-tissue transportation, collection, and research will also become felony crimes. 

The measure— House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1337—includes a slew of other new regulations for abortion clinics and doctors, too, including a requirement that all aborted and miscarried fetuses must be cremated or buried and that "a person or facility having possession of a miscarried or aborted fetus [must ensure that it] is preserved until final disposition occurs." At present, fetal tissue and placenta resulting from abortions and miscarriages that happen before 20 weeks pregnancy "are treated like any other medical waste," according to Vox

Opponents of the law worry the fetal cremation/burial regulation will turn all women who miscarry—something which occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies as a conservative estimate—into criminal suspects, as well as place an unnecessary burden on them in a time of mourning. Under the new law, any woman who miscarries at home could be committing a crime by not burying or cremating the fetus or making arrangements for its burial or cremation. Yet any woman who miscarries and then does take the fetal remains to be buried or cremated risks state suspicion and investigation. Remember, Indiana is the same state that recently put a woman in prison for 20 years over what she claims was a miscarriage but the state classified an illegal abortion. 

Additionally, HEA 1337 states that a) women seeking abortions must receive a mandatory ultrasound 18 hours before the procedure, and b) abortion doctors must not only have an agreement with a physician who has admitting privileges at a local hospital but renew this agreement annually, and submit proof of renewal to the state. Though billed as a step to ensure women's safety, such admitting agreements are wholly unnecessary, since a patient experiencing post-abortion complications can be treated at any hospital, regardless of whether that hospital has a preexisting relationship with their abortion doctor. 

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence called the measure "comprehensive pro-life legislation that expands the information that expectant mothers received" and "also provides additional protections for the unborn."

But the ACLU, which is joined in its lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana, asserts that the new law is unconstitutional. "Repeatedly the U.S. Supreme Court has said that a woman may get an abortion within the first trimester for whatever reasons she deems best, based on her circumstances," ACLU Executive Director Jane Henegar has explained.

"The ACLU stands firmly against discrimination in all forms, but that isn't what this law is about," said Henegar.  

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  1. Always amusing to see Team Red adapt the tactics of Team Blue to fit their agenda. Stay classy fellas.

    1. I just hope that on some level they are adapting those tactics for the lulz as well.

      1. I sort of doubt that anyone capable of being elected to public office is that self-aware.

    2. Always amusing to see Team Red adapt the tactics of Team Blue to fit their agenda. Stay classy fellas.

      I find it encouraging.

      When people shoot at you, you shoot back. The problem with the supposed opponents of Team Blue is that they have always refused to fight back *in kind*.

      One way cease fire is surrender.
      One way rule of law is subjection.

  2. I saw Protected Class of Fetuses when they opened for the Safe Placers at the Gee-Gaw Palace down in North Dixieland during a Halloween show.

    They were good but their pyro/effects guy screwed up and pointed the bloody gibbets cannon AWAY from the crowd.

    1. Sorry, I stopped reading after the word “Dixie” because I was triggered.

      1. You want triggering? I’ve got your triggering right here, mothafuka

        1. I recommend you not look, Zunalter, as the picture clearly shows quantities of “potable” liquids being rendered fulsome by means of exposure.

        2. I see you’ve also visited my hometown.

        3. Would. I mean, “why do they always advertise bikinis using models with unhealthy and unrealistic body dimensions?”

  3. Remember, Indiana is the same state that recently put a woman in prison for 20 years over what she claims was a miscarriage but the state classified an illegal abortion.

    It wasn’t “The State”, it was a jury and it’s under appeal.

    Even then, I’m less than convinced of the prudence of hucking aborted fetuses in the dumpster of the nearest retail location and *then* going to the hospital and telling them where the fetus is (with my usual caveat that, IMO, women should be able to generally huck fetuses in the 8 wk. range and the usual libertarian caveat that Target can willingly accept them, etc.) .

    1. Ah so Indiana is one of those states where juries investigate crimes, make arrests and file criminal charges.

      1. I’ll admit, it was a bit of kneejerk. First, Reason is so consistently wrong and anti-libertarian on protected classes, I just assumed they got this one wrong too. Second, I’m just used to ENB defending anything and everything up to mothers drowning their children in the 36th trimester that it’s not always clear that she’s altruistically defending women as opposed to just she’s advocating violent crime.

        My larger point was that saying it was ‘the state’ is a bit moot. It’s pretty clear the ‘victim’ was pretty intent on killing the mass growing inside of her and that, in doing so, she managed to perform some pretty non-libertarian/publicly offensive acts (going on the assumption that Target doesn’t want dead fetuses in their dumpsters or police snooping around their dumpsters in order to find them). I think we all agree 20 yrs. is pretty obnoxious (esp. considering smaller sentences for an actual adult murder/manslaughter/wrongful death isn’t unheard of), but I don’t think a trial and (e.g.) 2 yrs. of jail for illegally dumping medical waste or similar (trumped up) charge is that unfounded. Even if you’re ardently pro-abortion, I think this sort of medical emergency back-alley baby dumping leaves much to be desired in the way of women’s rights/healthcare.

  4. “Programs, programs, get your programs right here, folks. Programs, programs, can’t tell the com-men-tay-tors with-out a pro-gram…”

    1. Popcorn! Beer! Candy! Deep Dish! Step right up!

      1. At least you had the decency not to refer to it as pizza.

      2. “Get it while it’s hot! Get it while it’s buttered!”

  5. Did somebody from the ACLU really just imply that bans on abortion after the first trimester are completely constitutional?

    1. Where did they imply that?

      1. “Repeatedly the U.S. Supreme Court has said that a woman may get an abortion within the first trimester for whatever reasons she deems best, based on her circumstances,” ACLU Executive Director Jane Henegar has explained.”

        1. This is one of those things where if you criticize Team Red it means you’re secretly a Team Blue shill, right?

          1. No, it’s just that if the ACLU says that abortion in the first trimester is constitutional, someone might read that as implying that it isn’t constitutional outside of the first trimester.

            You asked where that was implied, and I figured that’s what colorblindkid was talking about.

            1. Indeed. I just found it to a be a very odd statement from them, usually defenders of abortion until birth.

              1. But aren’t they just talking about what the Supreme Court decided, rather than what they think?

  6. “The law . . . prohibits Indiana doctors from performing an abortion if they know a woman is seeking it based on the sex or race of the fetus, or because it has been diagnosed as potentially having Down Syndrome or “any other disability.” The state contends that abortions of this sort amount to discrimination in violation of civil rights law.”

    Progressives are shitheads specifically because they can’t see any problems with infringing on the rights of people they hate through public accommodation.

    Convince progressives that this law will primarily be enforced against racists, Christians, and other people they hate, and progressives won’t have any problems with this law at all.

  7. Pre-K is bad enough but this is ridiculous.

  8. Well, that does it. I can’t afford a lawsuit, so I won’t be hiring any more fetuses.

    1. That’s age discrimination.

      The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now calling on line 3.

  9. Under the new law, any woman who miscarries at home could be committing a crime by not burying or cremating the fetus or making arrangements for its burial or cremation.

    That’s not much different, if at all, from the law just about everywhere.

    Broadly speaking, fetal remains that are expelled/removed are either (a) “red bag” medical waste or (b) human remains, based on the age/weight of the fetus. Red bag waste has to be disposed of as a biohazard. Human remains, either buried or cremated by someone licensed to do so.

    If you have a miscarriage AND the fetal remains aren’t reabsorbed by your body (which happens if the miscarriage occurs pretty early), you’re going to wind up in a hospital or doctor’s office to get the fetal remains removed. I can’t imagine anybody winds up with these remains on their kitchen floor or table. The hospital/doctor’s office deals with the remains. They don’t give them back to you in a baggie.

    The article’s treatment of miscarraiges sounds to me like it was written by people who have no idea how these things are handled in the real world.

    1. I think hipsters, feminists, and Yoko sometimes use fetus to make some kind of hippie borscht or gazpacho or something. Maybe there should be an exception in the law for that. They probably want to sell it at Trader Joe’s or something–next to the raw milk. Subject of a forthcoming Saturday morning story by Baylen Linnekin, maybe–Yoko has the right to eat whatever she wants, goddamn it!

      1. *to the tune of the old Cheerios commercials*

        Embry-oh-ee-oohs!

    2. This is pretty standard for any human remains:

      a requirement that all aborted and miscarried fetuses must be cremated or buried and that “a person or facility having possession of a miscarried or aborted fetus [must ensure that it] is preserved until final disposition occurs.”

      About the only change I can see in this bill as it relates to disposal is that it treats all fetal remains as human remains, rather than allowing the early remains to be disposed of as red bag waste. In the scheme of impositions on our natural rights, this doesn’t even twitch the meter.

      1. It twitches the meter because it’s the same sort of tactic that anti-gunners use wrt gun laws. It’s not a de minimus imposition intended as part of a good-faith effort to keep the law (relatively) simple. Rather, it’s a deliberate effort at sticking a camel’s nose in the tent.

    3. I dunno. I know two women who miscarried at home at right at three months and they both saw the fetus on the bathroom floor. They picked them up, obviously, but I honestly don’t know what they did afterwards.

  10. Abortion is a genuine controversy, which means it is best left to the States to experiment.

  11. While I’m not a fan of abortion being used as a form of birth control, especially being that it is after conception, I recognize that the consequences of prohibition are worse. This is some fucked up shit.

    1. if they know a woman is seeking it based on the sex or race of the fetus, or because it has been diagnosed as potentially having Down Syndrome or “any other disability.”

      Abortion as birth control, after conception. The concept is abhorrent to me, but I’m not going to ask for the use of government force to enforce what I feel in my gut. Ugh. I hate this subject.

      1. Of course I’m not getting an abortion based on the sex. It was a boy.

  12. This is a little misleading as well, I think:

    Remember, Indiana is the same state that recently put a woman in prison for 20 years over what she claims was a miscarriage but the state classified an illegal abortion.

    The state charged her with both (a) an illegal abortion and (b) child neglect. She was convicted, I believe, only of the latter, on the theory that the baby she left in the dumpster had been born alive. So she wasn’t convicted of an illegal abortion (as far as I can tell from wiki). She was convicted of putting a live baby in a dumpster to die.

    1. *psst* Don’t piss on the narrative!

    2. It’s retarded scaremongering. Millions of women in societies without legal abortion, throughout history, have had miscarriages and nothing happened to them.. Wtf makes us any different?

      Many women don’t even announce their pregnancies until the second trimester because the first trimester is so risky and they don’t to have to hear “congratulations!” after losing the baby.

      1. As near as I can tell, this bill doesn’t really say anything about miscarriages per se. Its only addresses disposal of the remains after miscarriage.

        And does so in a way that is not much different than every other state.

  13. In case anyone’s wondering, I think outlawing abortion for sex-selection or to get rid of a kid with serious medical problems is a bad idea. The article is just written in a way that is misleading on a couple of pretty important points.

    1. Is spina bifida a disability?

      “Any other disability” is a wide open phrase.

      And how is aborting a child for birth defects morally worse than aborting a child for contraceptive purposes?

      1. Did you miss the part where I said “I think outlawing abortion . . . to get rid of a kid with serious medical problems is a bad idea”?

        1. I wasn’t criticizing you. It was an actual question.

  14. The law, passed in March and set to take effect July 1, prohibits Indiana doctors from performing an abortion if they know a woman is seeking it based on the sex or race of the fetus, or because it has been diagnosed as potentially having Down Syndrome or “any other disability.”

    What about sexual orientation and gender identity?

    1. They have yet to find a test for either of those things, as far as I know.

      1. There are times, sarc, that I might recommend not commenting.

        Ugh. I hate this subject.

        This is one.

  15. Team Red’s primary mistake is not tying this to cakes.

  16. I really don’t understand the point of federalism if we’re just going to mock and steamroll innovative States.

  17. From the ACLU press release: If Republicans were *really* prolife, they’d be more socialist:

    “Racial justice, gender equality, and disability rights advocates have opposed legislative proposals like the Indiana law. They point out that if politicians were serious about addressing inequities based on race, gender or disability status, they could expand access to high quality healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.”

    1. More from the ACLU:

      Civil rights laws strike a balance which “protects the faith-based decisions of religious organizations but does not allow individuals to bring their beliefs about racial minorities, women, or other protected groups into decisions about employment, housing or public accommodation, no matter how deeply felt those religious beliefs may be.”

      If you want to bring your beliefs about minorities, women, or the disabled into decisions about killing them, then of course that’s OK.

      1. protects the faith-based decisions of religious organizations but

        The old rule about whatever precedes the “but” seems to be holding up, doesn’t it?

  18. Are gingers and others with Irish tans still fair game? I also don’t want a bald infant or attached earlobes.

    1. In the case of Carrot Top, I’m all for post partum abortions

      1. Exactly. Never again! Although I don’t see much hope of legal abortions after the 200th trimester.

  19. Nope.

    Tiny American flags.

  20. Am I the only one around here to get slightly nauseous at the term “protected class”? It seems so un-American that it just revolts me. Our laws apply to citizens, not “classes,” you damn Marxists.

  21. If you worry about discrimination against females by people gender-testing pregnancies and aborting the females, then the thing for you to do is gender-test your own pregnancies, and selectively abort the males.

    And I have good news for folks who love Down-Syndrome patients and object to the drop in the number of Down-Syndrome patients due to pre-natal testing and abortion: soon we will be able to genetically engineer human zygotes with trisomy-21, the genetic condition which causes Down Syndrome. You will be able to implant these zygotes into your own uterus (or, if you are male, into your wife’s or girlfriend’s uterus) and grow as many children with Down-Syndrome as you wish to have. We will also be able to create human zygotes with other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, or Prader-Willi syndrome. You will be able to have children with whatever genetic diseases you want them to have.

    Enjoy.

    1. Idiot.

      We don’t *want* to have children with disabilities, but if it occurs, we’ll still love them – we wont’ kill them. They are human beings with extra challenges.

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