Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed into law a bill that will require those who have obtained a legal abortion to bury or cremate the tissue removed during surgery at the patient’s own expense.
The law, similar to those passed in Texas and Indiana, threatens a charge of “misdemeanor in the first degree” for those who do not pay to have tissue buried or cremated, going as far as to demand that if the patient chooses cremation (a standard medical option for disposing of surgical remains), then the incinerated materials must also be deposited into a “grave, crypt, or niche.” Ohio is already home to some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, requiring a 24-hour waiting period and mandatory counseling for those seeking abortions. In 2019, DeWine signed a law banning abortion after detection of a heartbeat, which often occurs before a patient is even aware that they are pregnant.
These new, punitive requirements are frighteningly similar to those suffered by Blake Norton, daughter of Democratic representative Donna Howard, who was forced by hospital policy to make funeral arrangements for the remaining tissue following a miscarriage. She recounted the harrowing experience as her mother fought against a Texas law mandating burial for remains of abortions, miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancies. The law was later overturned by a federal judge.
However, last year the Supreme Court upheld a similar law in Indiana because it only focused on bullying those seeking abortions and excluded those whose bodies expelled the tissue in a way that was apparently more acceptable to lawmakers.
No doubt thrilled with this victory for tissue, Governor DeWine is also likely to weigh in soon on a bill banning covid-safe and FDA-approved telabortions in Ohio, coincidentally the only U.S. state to boast three cities in the top ten worst cities for child poverty as of September 2019.