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Federal Judge Blocks Indiana's Selective Abortion Ban

Scales of Justice.

A federal judge Thursday ruled parts of Indiana’s new anti-abortion law unconstitutional, blocking them from taking effect.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sued over three parts of the new law, including its two most significant provisions. The first of those bans abortions performed solely because of a fetus’ potential disability, sex or race.

The state argues that provision prevents discrimination. But federal judge Tanya Walton Pratt says it clearly violates a right first established by the Supreme Court in 1973 – a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy before viability.

The judge also blocked language that would have required abortion providers to tell women about that selective abortion ban.

The other major provision requires medical facilities, including abortion clinics, to bury or cremate fetal remains. The state says that’s to ensure the dignity of human life.

Pratt says that issue is harder to balance. But she says it will cause harm to Planned Parenthood in the form of increased costs that could be passed on to patients…and that the Supreme Court holds that a fetus is not a person.

The law was to set to take effect Friday.

Pratt says she decided to block an Indiana law prohibiting abortions sought because of a fetus' genetic abnormalities because the state doesn't have the authority to limit a woman's reasons for ending a pregnancy.

Pratt said the Indiana law would go against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that states may not prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion before fetal viability.

An attorney for Indiana argued before Pratt earlier this month that the state has an interest in "preventing discrimination" against fetuses with genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.

Indiana and North Dakota are the only states with laws banning abortions that are sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex or ancestry of a fetus. It also requires that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

Indiana University is suing over a separate part of the law unaffected by Thursday’s ruling. That issue involves buying, selling or receiving fetal tissue.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Read the judge's ruling below:

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