Constitutional Law

7th Circuit blocks disability abortion ban; partial dissent labels the procedure a 'super-right'

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A federal appeals court has upheld a permanent injunction blocking an Indiana law that banned abortions based on race, sex, ancestry, Down syndrome or other genetic disorders.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, report the Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Lawyer and Reuters. How Appealing links to the decision.

“The provisions prohibit abortions prior to viability if the abortion is sought for a particular purpose,” Judge William Bauer wrote in the majority decision. “These provisions are far greater than a substantial obstacle; they are absolute prohibitions on abortions prior to viability which the Supreme Court has clearly held cannot be imposed by the state.”

In a partial dissent, Judge Daniel Manion said he agreed that the law violates Supreme Court precedent, though he would have upheld a provision requiring abortion clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains. He went on to criticize the precedent that required the court to strike down the discrimination provisions.

The Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey “treats abortion as a super-right, more sacrosanct even than the enumerated rights in the Bill of Rights,” Manion wrote. “The purported right to an abortion before viability is the only one that may not be infringed even for the very best reason. For an unenumerated right judicially created just 45 years ago, that is astounding.”

Vice President Mike Pence signed the bill into law in March 2016 when he was governor of Indiana.

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