Steven Aden

On Friday, June 24, a federal court in Indiana struck down portions of a bold and innovative set of measures intended to strengthen the Hoosier State’s legal protections for its most vulnerable residents – children in the womb. Indiana’s House Bill 1210 stripped Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers of Medicaid funding and required abortionists to tell mothers that “human physical life” begins at conception and that their baby will feel pain during the abortion. Of these three provisions, only the defunding of abortion providers was struck down in its entirety. (That decision has now been appealed), The informed consent provisions largely survived, and that is promising news for Indiana and our majority pro-life nation.

For starters, this means the law of the land in Indiana declares that “human physical life” begins at conception. An amazing feat considering the fact that Planned Parenthood’s “bioethics expert” in the case, Lee M. Silver, a Princeton University professor and American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, relied on the same Leftist-lexicon that has been so thoroughly dominant in academic and naturalistic circles for generations.

Throughout testimony, Silver did his best to present Christianity and science as two things as unmixable as oil and water: he contended the former is belief-based while the latter is empirical. Thus, to take the position that “human physical life” begins at conception was “an understandable religious position” but not a scientific one, he said.

Silver even went so far as to say the term “human physical life” itself is “meaningless” and that even a “fetus” cannot be described as a life with any degree of certainty.

Fortunately, the court did not agree with the philosopher, preferring instead to side with a scientist. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, an Obama appointee, credited the testimony of Dr. Maureen Condic of the University of Utah, an eminent and ground-breaking cell biologist, who told the court that “the conclusion that a human zygote is a human being (i.e. a human organism) is not a matter of religious belief, societal convention or emotional reaction. It is a matter of observable, objective, scientific fact.”

Steven Aden

Steven H. Aden is senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (