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Appeals court upholds Indiana law requiring cremation, burial of fetal remains

16-year-old sentenced for murder.
Posted at 7:31 AM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 07:31:07-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has reversed a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of provisions in an Indiana law that requires abortion clinics to either bury or cremate fetal remains.

It comes after a federal judge found that the requirements infringe on the religious and free speech rights of people who don't believe aborted fetuses deserve the same treatment as deceased people.

A legal challenge to the law was brought on in part by two women who had abortions and objected to the provisions requiring burial or cremation, arguing that implies the personhood of a fetus. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is a defendant in the suit.

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"... Neither of the two plaintiffs who has had an abortion contends that a third party’s cremation or burial of fetal remains would cause her to violate any religious principle indirectly. What these two plaintiffs contend is that cremation or burial implies a view — the personhood of an unborn fetus — that they do not hold," the opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reads in part.

"... A moral objection to one potential implication of the way medical providers handle fetal remains is some distance from a contention that the state compels any woman to violate her own religious tenets," it states.

The full opinion can be viewed here.

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House Enrolled Act 1337 was signed into law in 2016 by then-Gov. Mike Pence. Shortly afterward, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed suit, claiming the law violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court later upheld the law.