Dean James at Right Wing Tribune
The Supreme Court has reached a temporary compromise in an abortion dispute from Indiana which will keep the case off the docket during the 2020 presidential race.
The abortion case involved two aspects of a law that was first passed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana, Fox News reports.
One part required fetal remains to be disposed of separately from surgical byproducts following an abortion, and the other prohibited abortion when the decision was based on the sex, race, or possible disability of a fetus.
The unsigned ruling of the court disagreed with the Seventh Circuit’s decision that blocked part of the law involving the disposal of remains.
The court ruled that because the law did not present any burden against a woman’s ability to get an abortion, it only needed to pass the low level of scrutiny that requires it to be “rationally related to legitimate government interests.”
The court found that it met that requirement, in that it was related to the interest of “proper disposal of fetal remains.”
The Daily Caller reports that the 7th Circuit said Indiana had not identified a rational basis for its fetal disposal regulations, since fetuses do not qualify as human beings and thus cannot be regulated like persons under law. The Supreme Court summarily reversed that finding, a rarely-used mechanism saved for decisions that are clearly wrong.
“This Court has already acknowledged that a state has a ‘legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains,’” the high court’s unsigned opinion reads. “The 7th Circuit clearly erred in failing to recognize that interest as a permissible basis for Indiana’s disposition law.”
The decision was narrow and left the Court’s “undue burden” test undisturbed, further solidifying the perception of a compromise. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, the justices said that the validity of abortion regulations would turn on whether they imposed an “undue burden” on abortion access. In Tuesday’s case, Planned Parenthood did not argue that Indiana’s fetal disposal rules impose an undue burden. Rather, Planned Parenthood challenged the provision under a different legal test.
“This case, as litigated, therefore does not implicate our cases applying the undue burden test to abortion regulations,” the opinion reads.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the Court’s decision to restore the disposal rules, but agreed that denying review of the trait-selective abortion ban was correct.