On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s requirement that fetal remains be buried or cremated, dealing a setback to abortion provider Planned Parenthood, which had challenged the provision.
The unsigned ruling said an appeals court was wrong to conclude that the law had a illegitimate purpose. However, the court also turned away the state’s separate attempt to reinstate its ban on abortions performed because of fetal disability or the sex or race of the fetus, which was also struck down by lower courts.
The ruling stated that the court has previously said that states have a legitimate interest in the disposal of fetal remains. The court noted that in challenging the law, Planned Parenthood did not allege that the provision implicated the right of women to obtain an abortion.
Both provisions were part of a 2016 law signed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana’s governor. Indiana’s law was one of many passed by Republicans at the state level putting restrictions on abortion, which was legalized nationwide by the Supreme Court in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Indiana required that abortion providers bury or cremate fetal remains after an abortion.
In Tuesday’s ruling, the court said its decision not to review the second provision of Indiana’s law “expresses no view on the merits.”