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Ohio Senate Passes Bill Requiring Burial Or Cremation Of Fetal Remains

Abortion protesters at the Ohio Statehouse.
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Abortion protesters at the Ohio Statehouse.

The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that requires remains of some abortions be buried or cremated.

The legislation, SB 27, would require remains from elective abortions—normally performed at abortion clinics—be buried or cremated. Women who have the procedure would be required to determine the method of disposal.

State Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Cincinnati) says the bill will not affect remains from miscarriages or still-births, both of which are often handled in hospital settings.

“While I wish they were, it is simply impractical to regulate those occurrences,” Uecker says. “We regulate things all of the time here but we can’t always capture every circumstance.”

A more restrictive fetal remains bill in Texas was blocked by a federal judge in September. The judge wrote that the bill, which also mandated the burial or cremation of fetal tissue from miscarriages or ectopic pregnancy surgeries, posed a "significant burdens on women seeking an abortion or experiencing pregnancy loss” and offered “minimal, if any, benefits.”

Ohio currently bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A bill passed last year to ban “dilation and evacuation” procedures, a common abortion procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy, was temporarily blocked last week by a federal judge.

The Ohio Senate recently passed the "Heartbeat Bill," which would ban abortions as early as six weeks, before many women know they're pregnant. That bill is expected to pass the Ohio House and be signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, likely sparking a legal challenge.

The fetal remains bill now goes to the Ohio House.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.