Casualties of the court: Judges in Indiana and Florida halt pro-life laws

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down some provisions of the Texas HB2 bill seems like it’s set off a chain reaction to other states’ pro-life laws falling.


In Florida, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued an injunction just hours before a pro-life law was to take effect. The law would have prohibited funding Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions; Hinkle ruled that is unconstitutional, saying:

No court has embraced the defendants’ position. And there is no logic to it. That a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion does not mean a legislature can impose otherwise-unconstitutional conditions on public funding.

NPR also reports on the second provision that Hinkle prevented from taking effect:

The court also blocked a provision that would have required state employees in Florida to inspect the medical records of 50 percent of clinic patients. Planned Parenthood argued that the extensive inspection was a burden to clinics and a privacy violation. Hinkle agreed.

What Hinkle didn’t strike was a provision requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals, which is a law struck down in the Texas decision; however, NPR reports that Planned Parenthood had not challenged that part of the law in this suit, so it did not affect it.



Meanwhile, hundreds of miles to the north, a law in Indiana was also stayed at the last minute. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, from the Federal District Court for Southern Indiana, granted an injunction against a law that would have banned abortions on babies shown to have fetal disabilities or genetic anomalies (such as Down syndrome). It also would have banned sex-selection abortions or abortions based on race.  Pratt ruled:

“It is a constitutional liberty of the woman to have some freedom to terminate her pregnancy.” Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992) . This right is grounded in the right to privacy  rooted in “the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty.” Roe, 410 U.S. at 153; see Casey , 505 U.S. at 846 (“[c]onstitutional protection of the woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy derives from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”). (Page 8-9)
She added that Roe v. Wade says the state cannot limit a woman’s right to abortion prior to viability and that made the Indiana law unconstitutional:
[T]he very notion that, pre-viability, a State can examine the basis for a woman’s choice to make this private, personal and difficult decision, if she at some point earlier decided she wants a child as a general matter, is inconsistent with the notion of a right rooted in privacy concerns and a liberty right to make independent decisions. (Page 14).
Thus, both Florida and Indiana saw July open without some pro-life laws taking effect as scheduled. Ultimately, this means more babies will die while litigation is tied up in courtrooms where judges interpret the law  in extraordinary ways.
In Florida, a judge agreed inspecting abortion facility records would be too much of a burden. In Indiana, a judge ruled that a woman pregnant with a girl who wanted a boy can simply abort her daughter without cause.
The degrading of human life that continues to show up in courtrooms nationwide reveals a troubling trend where self-rule is elevated even above the right to life. What these judges seem to forget is that the right to life is a constitutional right in itself, and these rulings deny human beings their own constitutional right to life.
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