Controversy Grows

Ohio abortion providers again sue…to block a state law requiring that fetal remains from surgical abortions be cremated or buried. Clinics, through their lawyers at ACLU of Ohio, asked the state bench for a second stay, arguing the new law imposes a funeral ritual on every patient, regardless of religious or spiritual belief. The clinics continue to characterize the law as an unconstitutional hurdle to women’s legal right to an abortion. A judge previously had stayed the law in April, on grounds a lack of state rules made compliance impossible. But those rules were finalized Dec. 30 and have since taken effect. Under the terms of the court order, abortion providers will have until Feb. 8 to come into compliance. The measure replaces an earlier state law that required aborted fetuses to be disposed of “in a humane manner,” but did not define “humane.” Remains from what are known as surgical, or procedural, abortions fell under existing rules for handling infectious waste, meaning they could be disposed of with material from other medical procedures.

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