COLUMBUS, OH – On Wednesday, February 28, the Ohio House Health Committee will hold their third hearing and potential vote out of committee Senate Bill 28, an abortion restriction that requires the burial of fetal tissue, imposing a medically unnecessary funeral ritual on patients choosing abortion. It’s clear that this is another effort led by politicians to shame and stigmatize individuals making a personal decision to have an abortion.
Senate Bill 28 will require a patient who has had an abortion to have the embryonic or fetal tissue buried or cremated, imposing a medically unnecessary funeral ritual on women and their families. Abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, work with patients on a case-by-case basis to answer any questions they may have about the disposal of embryonic or fetal tissue. This bill, however, would force all patients seeking a surgical abortion to be told that all tissue will be disposed of by either burial or cremation before they are allowed to have an abortion. This mandate is intended to harass and even close abortion providers as well as shame women seeking abortions.
Statement from Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:
“This bill is unconstitutional. Texas and Indiana courts that have considered these restrictions have blocked them from being enforced. Under the Whole Woman’s Health decision (2016), the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the state cannot impose burdens on women seeking to exercise their constitutional right to abortion when those burdens have no medical benefit.
“We need to respect every individual’s ability to make the deeply personal decision to have an abortion in accordance with their family, faith, and doctor. Instead of focusing on intrusive laws that threaten access to health care and shame people for their personal decisions, we should focus our attention on promoting laws that build stronger communities and support the women, men, and families of Ohio.”
There are also serious privacy and confidentiality concerns with this bill. The state would have to issue death certificates for every abortion, regardless of the woman’s wishes or how early in the pregnancy the abortion occurs. Additionally, burial and cremation permits that are typically required for human deaths would also be required. Since such documents can be made public, a woman who has decided to have an abortion would have her private medical information exposed to public review.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio supports advocacy for women’s reproductive health and women’s rights, including grassroots organizing, community education, and lobbying.www.ppao.org