Re­ac­tions mixed to re­quest for law re­view

State at­tor­ney gen­eral ask­ing Supreme Court to look at abor­tion law

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Becky Ja­cobs

While some peo­ple in North­west In­di­ana com­mend the state’s at­tor­ney gen­eral for ask­ing the coun­try’s high­est court to re­view an abor­tion-re­lated law, oth­ers said they are against the move.

On Mon­day, In­di­ana At­tor­ney Gen­eral Cur­tis Hill asked the U.S. Supreme Court to re­view and re­verse a lower court’s de­ci­sion declar­ing parts of a 2016 law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence un­con­sti­tu­tional, block­ing the law.

Hill wants the jus­tices to look at two por­tions of the law. One part re­quired clin­ics and health care fa­cil­i­ties to dis­pose of aborted or mis­car­ried fe­tuses by cre­ma­tion or in­tern­ment.

“Noth­ing in the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­hibits states from re­quir­ing health fa­cil­i­ties to pro­vide an el­e­ment of ba­sic hu­man dig­nity in dis­pos­ing of fe­tuses,” Hill said in a state­ment.

The other pro­hib­ited doc­tors from per­form­ing “dis­crim­i­na­tory abor­tions based solely on the race, sex or dis­abil­ity of the child.”

“The right to abor­tion de­clared by our Supreme Court pro­tects only the de­ci­sion not to bear a child at all, not a right to de­cide which child to bear,” Hill said. “Our na­tion knows only too well the bit­ter fruits of such dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

The law was chal­lenged by the ACLU of In­di­ana on be­half of Planned Par­ent­hood of In­di­ana and Ken­tucky, or PPINK. Ear­lier this year, the 7th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals ruled that these pro­vi­sions were un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing that the state of In­di­ana con­tin­ues to de­fend these un­con­sti­tu­tional and med­i­cally un­nec­es­sary abor­tion re­stric­tions,” Christie Gille­spie, PPINK pres­i­dent and CEO, said in a re­lease. “By ap­peal­ing to the Supreme Court, the state of In­di­ana is try­ing to not only chip away at Hoosiers’ rights, but also threaten the rights of peo­ple seek­ing safe and le­gal abor­tion care across the

coun­try.”

Julie Stor­beck, pres­i­dent of the North­west In­di­ana chap­ter of the Na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Women, said she was “not at all sur­prised” that Hill made the re­quest, es­pe­cially af­ter Brett Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion to the Supreme Court.

“The tim­ing is per­fect,” Stor­beck said.

Betsy Hunt, who is a pa­tient es­cort or­ga­nizer for the Mer­ril­lville Planned Par­ent­hood of­fice, said she’s “an­tic­i­pated this hap­pen­ing.” Since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump en­tered the White House and Ka­vanaugh was se­lected, Hunt said she has seen anti-abor­tion pro­test­ers at the clinic be­come “louder” and “em­bold­ened.”

Both Hunt and Stor­beck said they dis­agree with the law and don’t want the Supreme Court to over­turn the rul­ing that deemed it un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“Roe is set­tled law. It is prece­dent. Stop chip­ping away at Roe,” Stor­beck said.

Len Reynolds and Al Raf­fin, pres­i­dents of Lake County’s and Porter County’s anti-abor­tion groups, re­spec­tively, sup­port Hill’s re­quest. In their eyes, abor­tion is “wrong.”

“First of all, I be­lieve in our con­sti­tu­tion, which says that you have a right to life be­fore lib­erty — life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness,” Reynolds said.

A fe­tus should have “the dig­nity of burial or cre­ma­tion,” Raf­fin said.

Reynolds and Raf­fin said they see the fe­tus as a per­son or a baby, but Stor­beck said that a fe­tus is tis­sue.

“It’s just an­other way to an­thro­po­mor­phize some­thing that is not a hu­man body to be buried,” Stor­beck said.

Reynolds and Raf­fin said they also sup­port the dis­crim­i­na­tory pro­vi­sions out­lined in the law.

“When we con­sider abort­ing ba­si­cally for the rea­son of race, sex or a dis­abil­ity, that’s kind of Hitler-es­que, if you’re ask­ing me,” Reynolds said.

Raf­fin said a rel­a­tive of his has Down syn­drome, who he said is lov­ing and car­ing, and he doesn’t feel peo­ple should se­lect which chil­dren they want to have.

Hunt sug­gested a sce­nar- io where a preg­nant mother finds out through med­i­cal test­ing that her child has a se­vere med­i­cal anom­aly.

“You’re forced to carry this fe­tus to term know­ing the minute it’s born, it’s go­ing to die?” she said.

Stor­beck said, “The whole point of Roe is you don’t have to ex­plain any­thing. Roe means that you don’t have to go into the doc­tor and say, ‘I want to ter­mi­nate the preg­nancy be­cause,’ and jus­tify it to some­body.”

“These are very per­sonal and pri­vate de­ci­sions, and the gov­ern­ment needs to stay out,” Stor­beck said.

If the Supreme Court ac­cepts In­di­ana’s pe­ti­tion this term, it will re­lease an opin­ion in the first half of 2019, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from PPINK.

Ken Falk, ACLU of In­di­ana le­gal di­rec­tor and PPINK at­tor­ney, said, “This law ig­nores long-set­tled prece­dent from the Supreme Court that a woman, not the leg­is­la­ture, gets to de­cide whether an abor­tion is the right de­ci­sion for her and her fam­ily. The state’s re­quest is yet an­other at­tempt by In­di­ana elected of­fi­cials to take that de­ci­sion out of a woman’s hands.”

“Deeply per­sonal de­ci­sions about abor­tion should be made by women in con­sul­ta­tion with their loved ones and health care pro­fes­sion­als — not by politi­cians,” Jane Hene­gar, ACLU of In­di­ana ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said.

“We will re­main vig­i­lant in our de­fense of ev­ery woman’s right to make her own med­i­cal de­ci­sions.”

ZACH GIB­SON/BLOOMBERG

In­di­ana At­tor­ney Gen­eral Cur­tis Hill is ask­ing the U.S. Supreme Court to re­view a de­ci­sion about a 2016 abor­tion-re­lated law.

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