Indiana AG will take a different route to salvage state law banning the dismemberment of living unborn babies

By Dave Andrusko

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill

In a strategic decision, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Wednesday that rather than appeal a federal judge’s order blocking the state’s ban on dismemberment abortion from going into effect, his office will proceed to summary judgment.

As NRL News Today reported, on July 1–three days before HEA 1211 would have gone into effect–Indiana Southern District Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a preliminary injunction at the behest of the ACLU.

AG Hill’s statement began by saying he “will focus his office’s resources on the larger issue proceeding to summary judgment or trial — the inherent constitutionality of the ban itself.”

The statement read in part

Dismemberment abortions are second-trimester procedures in which physicians use forceps to rip live fetuses piece by piece from their mothers’ wombs. As they are being dismembered, the fetuses bleed to death. …

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case involving an Alabama ban on dismemberment abortions held to be unconstitutional by a federal appellate court, but five other states — Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio — have ongoing cases concerning dismemberment bans.

“I remain committed to protecting the value and dignity of fetal life by defending Indiana’s law banning this brutal and inhumane procedure,” Attorney General Hill said. “At this juncture, I believe our best path forward in this case is to proceed to summary judgment as we continue to gather evidence and formulate strategy.”

Judge Baker’s decision was expected. Her questioning during oral arguments left little doubt where she would come down. (Judge Barker previously issued a preliminary injunction against portions of SEA 404 in a case brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. SEA 404 is a new parental rights law designed to give parents more rights if their minor daughter seeks an abortion.)

The ban on the dismemberment of living unborn babies was authored by Rep. Peggy Mayfield and co-authored by Rep. Christy Stutzman in the Indiana House,” Indiana Right to Life explained. “In the Indiana Senate, Sen. Liz Brown (District 15) shepherded the bill through with support from Sen. Mark Messmer (District 48) and other pro-life senators.”

Reporting for the Journal Gazette, Nikki Kelly wrote that during a Senate committee hearing, Dr. Andrew Mullally of Fort Wayne

said he has never heard of a legitimate medical reason to do the procedure. And he said Hoosiers would be outraged if something similar was done on animals.

“It’s never medically necessary,” he said.

Dr. Christina Francis, a Fort Wayne obstetrician-gynecologist, said the majority of the procedures done now are on healthy moms and relate to socioeconomic reasons or a fetal diagnosis of a disease or anomaly, such as Down syndrome.