Last Thursday, the Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the burial of fetal remains from surgical abortions. The bill passed along party lines by a vote of 60-36 in the House, and 24-7 in the Senate. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is expected to sign the bill into law.
The measure will require those who receive a surgical abortion to make a determination in writing on how the remains should be handled, and if the patient opts not to do so the abortion provider will be required to make the decision. The bill will create new financial requirements, as clinics will be responsible for covering the costs of cremation or interment, unless the patient makes their own arrangements.
In testimony opposing the bill, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio Gary Daniels stated that the bill “serves no legitimate medical purpose and is an obvious attempt to inconvenience patients, shut down abortion providers, and imprison doctors who do not comply with the numerous nonsensical regulations found in this bill.”
DeWine has previously signed anti-abortion legislation into law. In April of 2019 he enacted a “heartbeat” bill, which prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Other states have used similar legislation to create undue burdens on abortion patients and providers. The Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law signed by Vice President Mike Pence, and Pennsylvania has also considered a bill similar to the Indiana and Ohio measures.