Indiana’s Genetic Abnormalities Abortion Ban Won’t Go Into Effect, But One State Still Has An Identical Law
It has been a very busy week for women’s reproductive rights, and there was another win for pro-choice advocates Thursday. Indiana struck down a ban on abortion for genetic abnormalities, like a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis. That’s great, but there’s still North Dakota to deal with, which currently has the same type of ban. The measure was passed in 2013 by the GOP-led legislature in the state, and, according to ABC News, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic (yes, that wide open state has one fucking clinic that can perform abortions), the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, has said that it sort of doesn’t matter anyway. The clinic doesn’t perform abortions after 16 weeks and that’s too soon to do prenatal genetic tests, so women and their families actually don’t have a choice at fucking all.
Talk about having your hands tied. The good news is that North Dakota is the last hold out and, quite frankly, has a whole lot of fucking work to do when it comes to anti-abortion and TRAP laws.
Indiana blocking the ban on abortions based on genetic abnormalities is a partial win, but it is just a temporary block. The law in Indian was set to go into effect July 1, but U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a temporary injunction in the lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The bill was approved in March by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and even female Republican said it went too far, according to ABC News. It wasn’t just abortions in cases of genetic abnormalities, but the ban also challenged the idea that aborted fetuses need to be buried. Currently, Planned Parenthood incinerates the fetuses along with medical waste.
Forcing clinics (or women) to bury aborted fetuses is probably one of the craziest things states — including Ohio, South Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia — have considered when it comes to placing undue financial (and emotional) burden on women and the clinics serving them.
The state of Indiana contends that the proposed ban on abortions for genetic abnormalities is about not discriminating against genetic disorders, but a woman and her partner have a right to make their own decisions. Over at The Atlantic, Amy Julia Becker wrote that as a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, the ban doesn’t do shit (she says it so much more eloquently) to help children and families dealing with Down syndrome.
Instead of banning abortions to not discriminate against genetic abnormalities, states could make living with and caring for someone with Down syndrome easier. One of the reasons families abort fetuses diagnosed with genetic abnormalities is that they lack financial support or access to adequate care once the child is born. Bans on abortion for genetic abnormalities isn’t about protecting those with disorders — it’s another way for anti-choice groups to talk about life. If they really cared about life, and not blocking women from having a choice, there would be more resources for women who do have children — healthy children, children who are sick, and children with genetic disorders — to take care of them.
There are lots of reasons women decide to have abortions. Indiana’s move this week is a good step towards not shaming them for their choices, but North Dakota still needs to wake up.