Ohio to introduce bill requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains

Planned Parenthood clinic © Andrew Kelly
Ohio state lawmakers plan to introduce new legislation that would require women who have abortions or miscarriages to arrange a burial or cremation for their fetus.

The action comes after allegations the local Planned Parenthood clinic was selling body parts of aborted fetuses.

A month-long investigation into the local clinics in Ohio showed no evidence to support the claims alleged in an undercover video, but other unsavory details surfaced as a result of the probe. 

Attorney general Mike DeWine filed legal action when, through the investigation, he found that the medical waste vendors the three clinics were using, dumped fetal remains into landfills. Something Republican State Rep. Kyle Koehler found upsetting.

“Whether they are selling body parts or simply tossing them into landfills doesn’t matter to me anymore”, he told Ohio radio station, WVXU.

Koehler is sponsoring the bill that would require women who undergo abortions or are treated for miscarriages at hospitals, to sign a form arranging either burial or cremation.

The legislation states any cost incurred from the burial or cremation would be passed on to the facility, who could then charge the patient.

READ MORE: Politicians call for Planned Parenthood probe after alleged sale of fetal body parts

Republican Rep. Barbara Sears says while she doesn’t support abortion, the bill is not politically motivated.

“The idea of respectfully treating the remains of an infant who has been aborted, I think is critical. And I don’t think that it matters whether you are Republican or Democrat or Independent or oblivious to politics all together.”

However NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio representative Gabriel Mann said Planned Parenthood is following the law which has been in effect for 40 years, adding the new legislation is all politics.

“None of this is medically necessary. The only reason that these bills are being introduced is because they want to try to harass abortion providers and harass women that are seeking a safe and legal procedure.”

READ MORE: Law banning Down syndrome abortions mulled in Ohio

Danielle Craig of Southwest Ohio Planned Parenthood said the bill only hurts women who already have to make difficult choices.

“You know, each time one of these regulations are introduced, that’s more burden on the women who come in to see us and I think that’s the unfortunate part.”

Another Republican, Rep. Robert McColley, said some details still need to be worked out, like whether there would be specific cemeteries for the remains, or certain places the ashes could be scattered.

He added that the intention of the bill is not to create a statewide registry of sorts.

“There’s nothing in there that requires specific person by person names and information to be disclosed to the Ohio Department of Health and if there is, then we would remove that”, he said.

Ohio Right to Life’s Stephanie Krider said the proposed form is not a burden for women, because they already passed a law in 2006 that allows women to get death certificates for stillbirths after 20 week gestation.

The difference is that law is voluntary and this bill would be mandatory, regardless of stage in pregnancy.

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