Home Law Ohio Senate passes bill requiring burial or cremation of aborted fetuses

Ohio Senate passes bill requiring burial or cremation of aborted fetuses

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Ohio Statehouse Rotunda. Photo by Mike King via Flickr.

Proponents of the recently passed bill say it protects the rights of the unborn, but opponents say it’s a setback for women.

Last week, the Ohio Senate passed a bill that mandates women who have abortions to either to cremate or bury the fetus.

Joe Uecker, R-Miami Township, sponsored the bill. He said of his proposal, “ it seeks to promote and honor the dignity of the unborn.”

The bill passed 24-9, along party lines and has already attracted a lot of controversy.

Opponents of the bill belive it to be another attempt to make it harder for women to receive abortions.

The proposed measure is in response to a public outcry that arose a couple years ago on how Planned Parenthood disposed of fetuses.

In 2015, a video surfaced alleging that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue. Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine headed a four month investigation and found that none of the Planned Parenthood facilities in Ohio were engaging in such practices.

Under this law, abortion clinics would be required to work with funeral homes and pay for the burial or cremation.  

If a woman desires a burial option different from the clinic’s locations, she would have to pay for it.

If a clinic fails to bury or cremate a fetus, it would be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor resulting in a jail sentence of up to six months.

Abortion clinics have raised concerned about partnering with funeral homes and the cost that associated cost they would incur. As of now, most clinics partner with labs that dispose of fetal tissue along state guidelines.

One outspoken opponent of the bill has been Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland.

It’s just another step in the journey the Senate and the House have taken to throw a roadblock in front of women,” Williams said.

Many have pointed out that the bill only targets women receiving abortions but not miscarriages that occur in hospitals.

Hannah Burke, OU’s Women’s Affair Commissioner, is worried about added financial and emotional burdens this bill could place on women getting an abortion.

“It seems like this bill is purposely trying to make it harder for someone who wants an abortion,” Burke said.

A similar law was proposed in Indiana and attracted similar controversy.

Curtis Hill, Indiana attorney general, did not feel the mandate would be burdensome to women.

“Further, requiring that the remains of deceased unborn children be accorded at least the dignity of low-cost burials or cremation is hardly an impingement of anyone’s individual rights,” Hill said.

Burke says that Women’s Affairs Commission is currently working on creating healthcare pamphlets intended to educate people on what resources exist near campus for reproductive health.

The pamphlet is nonpartisan and includes information from both Planned Parenthood and Pregnancy Resource Center.

Burke does believe that if a women chooses to have an abortion, she should have access to a safe and affordable clinic. The closest abortion clinic to Athens right now is in Columbus.

Even though the law has passed in the Ohio Senate, it needs to pass in the Ohio House before Governor John Kasich can make a decision  on it.

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