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Gov. Mike DeWine Signs Law Requiring Burial Or Cremation Of Fetal Remains

A sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer
Associated Press

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill into law requiring that fetal remains from surgical abortions be cremated or buried.

The bill, SB27, updates a current law that requires aborted fetuses to be disposed of “in a humane manner,” but “humane” is not further defined. It mandates that a woman having an abortion must fill out a form designating how to dispose of the remains.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, calls the bill a vital piece of pro-life legislation.

“Human life is precious and deserves to be both respected and protected," Gonidakis wrote in a statement.

The measure signed into law Wednesday has been under consideration for two years, following an investigation by DeWine – then the state attorney general – into how abortion providers were handling remains. His investigation did not result in charges or health citations against abortion providers, however.

Abortion rights groups including Planned Parenthood oppose the law. The ACLU of Ohio has said that abortion clinics already follow state-regulated procedures for the safe and appropriate handling of biological tissue, and the law is unconstitutional.

“It’s just another method to harass abortion providers and patients," said the ACLU of Ohio's Gary Daniels.

A similar fetal remains law in Indiana was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.