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Indiana Requirements Forcing Burial or Cremation of Tissue From Abortions Permanently Blocked

Requirement was challenged by two patients and their health care providers; victory comes less than a week after Indiana’s abortion ban temporarily blocked 

09.27.22 – (PRESS RELEASE) Late yesterday, a federal district court permanently blocked Indiana’s requirements forcing abortion and miscarriage patients to affirm the State’s view of personhood in order to receive critical medical care.  Specifically, the requirements forced health care providers to bury or cremate the tissue from abortions and miscarriage management procedures regardless of the patient’s religious or conscientious beliefs.

In today’s ruling, the Court held that the requirements were intended to suppress the conviction of many abortion patients that a developing pregnancy is not a person in violation of the right to freely exercise one’s religion. The Court also held that the requirements compel patients and healthcare providers to engage in rituals anathema to their personal beliefs in violation of the right to free speech.

“Today’s ruling is a potent reminder that people do not lose cherished rights under the First Amendment the moment they become pregnant and a victory for those seeking and providing vital pregnancy care,” said Rupali Sharma, Senior Counsel and Director at the Lawyering Project.  “Hoosiers will not sit idly by while politicians work to erase their rights and disregard their dignity in service of their ideological agendas.” 

Today’s ruling comes less than a week after an Indiana circuit court temporarily blocked the State’s abortion ban that took effect on September 15.  Since then, abortion care has resumed in the state.

Plaintiffs in today’s challenge – which was filed in 2020 –  include the two patients; Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, an Indianapolis abortion clinic; its owner and Medical Director; and a nurse practitioner who provides care there. They are represented by the Lawyering Project, Priscilla Smith of the Yale Law School Reproductive Rights and Justice Project; Kathrine D. Jack; and Michelle Engel.