However, the court declined to consider the other part of the law, which banned abortions that are based solely on race, sex, or disability, saying the law raises issues that have not yet been adequately considered by appellate courts.
The court's ruling was welcomed by pro-life advocates as a partial victory. Dozens of cases currently in the court system involve various state-level abortion restrictions, and many pro-life groups have voiced hope that one of the challenges will become the impetus for the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide.
"Unborn infants shouldn't be disposed of as 'medical waste' when they die before birth, regardless of whether their deaths are spontaneous, accidental, or induced," said Denise Burke, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group that had filed a brief in the case.
"Further, the broken bodies of aborted infants shouldn't be exploited for scientific experimentation," she said. "Since the horrific 2015 revelations that Planned Parenthood harvested and sold the body parts of aborted infants-including brains, hearts, livers, lungs, and muscle tissue-it has become apparent that this must be addressed in state law."
However, while Burke praised the justices for upholding the fetal remains provision of the law, she also expressed disappointment that they did not rule on the other aspects of the legislation.
"Indiana law also sends a clear message that all victims of discrimination – born and unborn – are worthy of protection," she said. "We had hoped the Supreme Court would take this opportunity to revisit the 7th Circuit's deeply flawed ruling, which endorses a lethal form of discrimination, as long as it occurs in utero."