Supreme Court upholds Indiana law requiring burial or cremation after an abortion

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order that will allow Indiana to enforce a law mandating the burial or cremation of fetal remains following an abortion.

The justices also decided they will not take up a separate part of the law banning abortion on the basis of race, sex, or disability, meaning that those restrictions won't go into effect. Both abortion laws were signed in 2016 by Vice President Mike Pence, who was governor of Indiana at the time.

The order on the fetal remains case marks the first instance of the more conservative Supreme Court makeup challenging the parameters of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The Indiana case was closely watched since the Supreme Court began discussing it in January. The justices met about it more than a dozen times.

The fetal remains order by the Supreme Court overturns an appeals court decision from the 7th Circuit that held Indiana’s stated interest in the "humane and dignified disposal of human remains” was “not ... legitimate.”

The Supreme Court in its opinion said the plaintiffs hadn't argued that the Indiana law posed "undue burden" preventing women from accessing abortion, which is the standard the court has applied since its 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision allowing states to regulate abortion to a certain extent. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a dissent asserting she believed the law did pose an undue burden, and saying she would not have taken up the case.
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