Supreme Court upholds Indiana abortion law on fetal remains but stays clear of debate

Abortion rights: How Roe v. Wade came to be

The Supreme Court is upholding an Indiana law that requires abortion providers to dispose of aborted fetuses in the same way as human remains. But the justices are staying out of the debate over a broader provision that would prevent a woman in Indiana from having an abortion based on gender, race or disability.

The court is splitting 7-2 in allowing Indiana to enforce the fetal remains measure that had been blocked by a federal appeals court. The justices say in an unsigned opinion that the case does not involve limits on a woman’s right to an abortion.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. 

According to orders released on Tuesday, the Court says that Planned Parenthood has never argued that the law imposes an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have an abortion, so the Seventh Circuit in Indiana looked at whether or not there was a “rational basis” for the law — that is, whether it was rationally related to legitimate governmental interests. 

But the Supreme Court concluded otherwise: The government has an interest in the proper disposal of fetal remains, and the law is rationally related to that interest.

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