Ohio legislature approves fetal remains bill requiring burial or cremation

Mike DeWine
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs a bill into law on Thursday, April 11, 2019 that bans abortions on unborn babies for which a heartbeat can be detected. |

The Ohio state legislature has approved a bill requiring abortion facilities not to dispose aborted babies as medical waste but instead, cremate or bury them. 

According to the text of the legislation, Senate Bill 27 permits women seeking abortions to choose and put in writing whether they want the remains of the unborn child to be buried or cremated. The abortion facility must choose to cremate or bury if the woman does not indicate her preference. 

Anyone who knowingly fails to dispose of the remains legally will be guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor, according to the bill, and the woman will not be held liable should the clinic fail to perform this function. The bill only applies to surgical abortion providers. 

Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law.

“Whether pro-life or pro-choice, everyone should be able to agree that the bodies of babies should never be thrown into the trash,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, in a statement last week. 

“The unborn victims of abortion deserve the same basic decency that we afford to all humans: a dignified burial …. Although we look forward to the day when we no longer have to lay to rest the broken bodies of Ohio’s abortion victims, we are proud to say that our state has taken another step towards recognizing not only the humanity of the unborn, but of ourselves as well.”

Five years ago, DeWine found in his investigation as the state attorney general that aborted fetuses ended up in landfills, reported

Though he did not press any charges against abortion clinics, he said the legislature had to define more clearly the requirement that fetal remains be disposed of in a “humane” way.

The fetal remains bill is but one abortion-related proposal to be potentially signed before the end of the year when the current legislative session ends. 

Last year, the United States Supreme Court upheld a similar law in neighboring Indiana, holding that states have a "legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains." The Indiana statute was signed into law in 2016 by then-governor Mike Pence, who is now the vice president of the United States. 

The bills were brought about in part because of horror stories where abortionists were storing the corpses of aborted babies on their property and out of respect for their inherent dignity, calling attention to the humanity of the unborn. 

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