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WASHINGTON, D.C.–The part of an Indiana law that requires fetuses to be disposed of by burial or cremation, had nothing to do with abortion, said the law’s sponsor, state Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis). The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the state law, agreeing the state can regulate how a fetus is disposed of.

“This is after an abortion. So, it wouldn’t have had anything to do with an abortion. This is afterwards,” he said.

But, part of the law did have to do with abortion. One complaint was that the law made it harder for the person seeking an abortion to get one because of the cost of disposal. Young said the facility performing the abortion would absorb that cost because they were already disposing of the remains, albeit by a means Young believed was in humane.

“An unborn fetus, whether the baby dies because of an abortion or a miscarriage, has to be disposed of in a humane way,” said Young, “either by burial or by cremation.”

Young said the law originated when he found out a facility performing an abortion was grinding up remains.

“They were grinding them up and putting them in like, oil drums,” said Young.


“The Court’s decision on the provision of the law pertaining to the disposition of fetal tissue may have been struck down had it been reviewed – as subsequent laws in other states have been – based on whether it poses an undue burden on a woman’s right to have an abortion. We will continue to fight to ensure Hoosiers have safe access to abortion,” said Ken Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana, who along with Planned Parenthood, challenged the law.

The Supreme Court also decided not to review a law that bans abortion based on a fetal diagnosis, or based on the sex, race, national origin, or ancestry of the fetus.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the ban was unconstitutional and the Supreme Court declined to review that ruling. That means the law remains ineffective.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis