Ohio & Abortion: DeWine Expected to Sign Pro-Life Bill Requiring Respectful Disposal of Fetal Remains

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A pro-life demonstrator holds up a mock human fetus next to a pro-choice demonstrator, as two groups chant over one another outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 4, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

The Ohio state house has passed a piece of legislation that would require abortion providers in the state either to cremate or bury the remains of aborted babies. In a 60-35 vote yesterday, the state house approved a bill that had already passed the state senate earlier this year. The Senate is expected to affirm the new version of the bill and send it on for a signature.

Next, the legislation will head to the desk of Republican governor Mike DeWine, a long-time pro-lifer who is expected to approve the measure. Current Ohio law doesn’t require any particular treatment for fetal remains, other than stating that they should be treated “humanely.” This bill would apply only to the remains of aborted babies — as opposed to those who died as a result of miscarriage — requiring abortion providers to let women who receive an abortion choose whether they want their child’s remains to be buried or cremated. If a woman elects not to decide, the abortion provider would be required to make a decision and carry it out at its own cost.

Supporters of legal abortion, including the American Civil Liberties Union, vocally oppose the bill, arguing that Ohio has no rational basis for the policy and that it places an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion. “It’s just another method to harass abortion providers and patients,” Gary Daniels of the Ohio ACLU asserted.

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But this argument has already been dismissed by the Supreme Court, which upheld a similar fetal-remains law in Indiana a few years ago in Box v. Planned Parenthood, determining that the state had a rational basis for instituting such a policy.

It is frightening that progressives rigorously police the proper disposal of household garbage yet cannot bear to see states treat the remains of unborn children with some semblance of dignity rather than permit them to be tossed away like medical waste.

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