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Ohio House Passes Bill Requiring Burial Or Cremation Of Fetal Remains

Abortion supporters gather outside the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to rally against the anti-abortion laws in the state.
Sam Aberle
/
Ohio Public Radio

The Ohio House has passed, along party lines, another abortion bill. This one requires fetal remains from surgical abortions to be buried or cremated.

SB27, which has been under consideration for nearly two years, would require a woman having an abortion to fill out a form designating how to dispose of the fetal remains. If she doesn’t do so, it will be up to the abortion provider to decide whether to bury or cremate the remains and pay for it.

The ACLU of Ohio’s Gary Daniels says the bill is unconstitutional.

“It’s just another method to harass abortion providers and patients," Daniels says.

Fetal remains from miscarriages would not be affected by the bill, which passed 60-35. Backers argue the legislation will make sure fetal remains are treated humanely.

Anti-abortion group Ohio Right To Life celebrated the bill's passage.

"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," president Mike Gonidakis said in a statement.

Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to sign the bill once the Ohio Senate agrees with changes the House made. As attorney general, DeWine investigated how fetal remains from abortions were being handled after complaints from abortion opponents, although his investigation resulted in no charges or health citations against abortion providers.

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar fetal disposal law in Indiana. State Sen. Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) said last year that the language of his Senate bill came from that Indiana law, so he's confident it will hold up in court.

“So it would be kind of a difficult process to say that there’s some other reason that was not considered why it should be unconstitutional,” Uecker said.