A bill passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives earlier this month with bipartisan support. “The Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act” is rather straightforward: it merely requires that hospitals either bury or cremate fetal remains, or return them to the parents upon request. This is currently law for preborn children after 16 weeks of gestation. That the bill received support from both Republicans and Democrats should indicate that it’s a largely uncontroversial piece of legislation — but instead, it’s come under attack.
At Business Insider, Julia Naftulin penned a screed declaring the bill to be an unscientific joke, which mandates death certificates for “fertilized eggs” — otherwise known as zygotes — which are actually newly created humans. She also makes an assumption that women who experience early miscarriages will also be forced to first obtain death certificates, and then show proof that they have either paid to bury or cremate the remains. This assumption is presented as fact in her write-up attacking the bill, despite these imagined requirements not being present in the actual text of the bill itself.
The bill was similarly attacked by Vice (arguing that the bill is nothing more than an attempt to redefine fetal death, and by extension, fetal personhood), and by the Philadelphia Inquirer (arguing that it “unfairly polices” pregnant women).
A similar law was passed in Indiana, and was upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional. Shockingly, none of these hysterical claims about policing pregnant women’s bodies, with pro-life officials banging on doors to demand death certificates for very early miscarriages, have come to pass in Indiana. It likely won’t happen in Pennsylvania, either; after all, the bill’s author wanted it to be a choice families could make after suffering a loss which so many find devastating, as well as ensure that human remains are disposed of respectfully, and with dignity.
“We wanted to craft something that was voluntary, that provided the family with the ability for closure, the ability to understand that a human life was lost, their life, that they’d been striving for for so long,” Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, the prime sponsor of the bill, told the Associated Press. In a speech on the House floor, Ryan further explained that part of the inspiration for the bill came from his own life experience, when he and his wife suffered a miscarriage in the 1970s, and said that he wanted the choices of families experiencing similar pain to be expanded, not restricted.
Thanks to bills like these, hospitals — and likewise, abortion facilities — must treat the bodies of preborn babies, who have died either through miscarriage or abortion, with dignity. They must be properly buried or cremated, instead of being thrown in the trash or tossed into garbage disposals, which abortion facilities have been found doing in undercover investigations. Other abortion staffers were caught in the videos laughing about being kicked out of funeral homes due to their disrespectful and callous attitudes about how to dispose of fetal remains.
Preborn children are human beings, and should they pass away, they deserve a respectful burial just like any other human being. That abortion advocates find this to be controversial shows just how extremist their position truly is.
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