Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio filed a lawsuit Sunday against the state, arguing that the state Attorney General is trying to restrict safe and legal abortion access. AG Mike DeWine’s office announced in a press release Friday that an investigation had found that PP disposes of aborted fetuses in landfills, an allegation they called “inflammatory and false.”
In a news release, DeWine’s office says they were looking for sale of fetal body parts, which they didn’t find. (For those of you keeping score at home, that’d be roughly the twelfth state to investigate PP for selling fetuses and turning up absolutely nothing.) But, they add, they found improper disposal methods of fetuses, saying that all three PP affiliated in the state “have sent fetal remains to companies which disposed of the fetuses in landfills.” The release adds:
Additionally, the Planned Parenthood facility in Bedford Heights stated it uses only one company for disposal. However, that company stated to investigators it does not accept fetal remains for disposal as a corporate policy.
“Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”
In a statement to the press, Planned Parenthood called the allegations “flat out false,” noting they’d heard about them from a press release, and not via contact with the Department of Health. Stephanie Kight, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, added that Planned Parenthood “handles medical tissue like any other quality health care provider. Our agreements with vendors all require them to follow state law, and dispose of tissue accordingly. If they are not, then I will take swift action.”
PP also noted that as a U.S. Senator DeWine voted for every single piece of anti-abortion legislation, earning a 0 percent rating from NARAL. As the AG, he spent the summer trying unsuccessfully to shut down Toledo’s last abortion clinic. He said Friday that he would seek an injunction against PP to keep them from sending fetal remains to the disposal companies they have been using (and, conveniently, tying them up in court and throwing into question the legality of performing abortions at all while the case is underway.)
On Sunday, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio, arguing that DeWine is simply trying to block abortion access. They note that they’re inspected annually by the Department of Health and have never been cited or sanctioned. One of their medical removal companies canceled its contract with PP after DeWine issued his statement, but Planned Parenthood says another company has since taken over.
Mike Dewine, pictured in 2013. Image via AP Images