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BY: Charles Fain Lehman
The Supreme Court on Tuesday avoided hearing a lawsuit about two Indiana abortion regulations, one of which prompted a lengthy attack on eugenic abortion from Justice Clarence Thomas.
Case - Question - Box - V - Parenthood
The case in question was Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, first brought before the court by the state of Indiana last October. It concerned two requirements of HEA 1337, which mandated that "fetal remains" be disposed of as one would other human remains (instead of medical waste), and prohibited abortions solely on the basis of the child's sex, race, or disability status.
The Indiana-area Planned Parenthood affiliate sued, claiming that the two laws violated a woman's right to an abortion under current precedent. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, but Indiana appealed to the Supreme Court, perhaps hoping for a now more-conservative bench's first ruling on abortion.
Hopes - Tuesday - Curiam - Decision - Court
These hopes were to be dashed. In its Tuesday per curiam (i.e., unanimous or mostly unanimous) decision, the court summarily reversed the Seventh Circuit on the question of fetal remains, but neatly dodged having to grapple with whether or not such laws infringe on a woman's right to an abortion.
Under current precedent, the right to an abortion is protected from any "undue burden" prior to the point of viability. However, Planned Parenthood did not argue during previous hearings that the fetal remains law represented an undue burden, instead claiming that the law was not rationally related to government interests. Because the Supreme Court had previously ruled that a state has a "legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains," this argument was summarily rejected.
Abortion - Legislation - Supreme - Court - Opinion
The eugenic abortion legislation, meanwhile, was not yet ready for hearing by the Supreme Court because the, opinion said, there is no disagreement between federal circuits on the issue of such laws. Supreme Court rules for granting...
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