Republican lawmakers in Ohio are planning on introducing legislation that would require women who have undergone abortions at clinics or been treated for a miscarriage to sign a form designating burial or cremation of the fetal remains.
After Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s months-long investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation program came up empty (like every other state investigation so far), he’s moved on to a report alleging that PP is disposing of fetuses in landfills, an allegation Planned Parenthood called “flat-out false.”
Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio, arguing that DeWine, who has made a career out of blocking abortion access, is making a “plainly political attempt to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion.” A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked officials from taking legal action against Planned Parenthood regarding fetal tissue disposal; however, now three (male) Ohio lawmakers—Sen. Joe Uecker, R-Miami Township, Rep. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, and Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield—have picked up the baton with legislation of their own.
Ohio Public Radio quotes Rep. Koehler as saying, “Whether they are selling body parts or simply tossing them into landfills doesn’t matter to me anymore.” (Koehler did not remark on whether it might matter to taxpayers, whose money was wasted on a bogus investigation.)
The proposal, which will be formally introduced in the next few weeks, would require women to designate which burial method she prefers on a form, a designation which would reportedly not be public. And according to Ohio Public Radio, “the cost of that would be passed on to the facility, which could then pass it on to the women being treated.”
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said in a statement: “It is just the latest in the constantly changing, medically unnecessary legal hoops that abortion providers and their patients must jump through.” Not only would this legislation serve to further intimidate and shame women seeking abortion care (not to mention women who have experienced traumatizing, completely non-elective miscarriages), but it could potentially burden the women themselves with the excessive cost of cremation or burial—the former is $1,100 on average, the latter much more. (It’s also worth mentioning that it could be yet another tax on the environment.)
Both Indiana and Arkansas passed similar laws this year, and Wisconsin has legislation pending. Ohio abortion access is steadily, quietly becoming among the most limited in the country; according to NARAL’s Copeland in a statement made back in March of this year:
“Governor John Kasich has enacted more restrictions on access to reproductive health care — including safe, legal abortion and family planning services — than any governor in memory. None of his policies will help prevent unintended pregnancy and therefore the need for abortion. In fact, quite the opposite. And more anti-choice measures are pending in the Ohio Legislature. On top of all of that, Governor Kasich is abusing his regulatory authority in an attempt to close abortion clinics across Ohio.”
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