Ohio governor signs bill to ensure proper burial or cremation for preborn babies’ remains

abortion, pro-life

UPDATE, 12/31/20: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 27 into law, making it mandatory for the remains of aborted children to be either buried or cremated. While preborn children can still be targeted for death for abortion, their bodies can at least be handled respectfully.

12/03/20: The Ohio House passed Senate Bill 27 on Thursday, which would require women undergoing abortions to choose what happens to their preborn child’s remains: burial or cremation. The bill passed in the house by a vote of 60-35 with just one Democrat, Senator Sean O’Brien, voting in favor of it. The bill had already passed the Senate in March and will now be sent to the desk of Governor Mike DeWine.

Currently, fetal remains are often disposed of as medical waste in Ohio, according to the group Citizens for Community Values. The state does not say what must happen to fetal remains, whether the child dies through miscarriage or abortion or as an embryo in a fertility clinic, other than the disposal be “humane.” Senate Bill 27, sponsored by former Sen. Joe Uecker, would ensure women who undergo abortions are able to choose if their child’s body is buried or cremated rather than tossed into a medical waste bin. If women do not want to decide, the abortion business would then have to choose. Violaters could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge.

READ: SCOTUS upholds Indiana fetal remains disposal law; denies abortion bans for disability, sex

“Ohio Right to Life is proud to see this common sense piece of legislation enacted by the Ohio House,” said Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis in a statement. “Whether pro-life or pro-choice, everyone should be able to agree that the bodies of babies should never be thrown into the trash. The unborn victims of abortion deserve the same basic decency that we afford to all humans: a dignified burial. The passing of Senate Bill 27 will make that simple request a reality.”

Pro-abortion groups are speaking out against the bill, saying it is too focused on abortion facilities. “Here we have a bill that targets only abortion providers and their practices while totally ignoring all similar, if not identical, practices around Ohio,” said Gary Daniels, a lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio.

But according to the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio hospitals already have rules in place for the respectful handling of fetal remains. Though the rules vary from hospital to hospital, the bodies of preborn babies are handled differently based on age and signs of life at delivery. Parents are able to contract with a funeral home for burial or cremation. If they choose to do nothing with their child’s body, hospitals have different policies in place that sometimes end with cremation through a medical-waste company.

House Members who voted against Senate Bill 27 say that they believe the bill is unconstitutional. However, in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a portion of Indiana’s 2016 law that placed restrictions on the disposal of fetal remains after abortion in  Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc.

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