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Judge Upholds Ohio's Fetal Remains Disposal Law For Now

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

A judge has declined to block Ohio's new law regarding fetal remains from surgical abortions.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison Hatheway denied the request from abortion clinics for a temporary restraining order against the law, which requires the burial or cremation of fetal remains.

“I do agree with the state in that I’m not convinced that there is immediate and irreparable harm at this time, because the legislation is not due to take effect until April 6," Hathaway says.

But Hatheway set a hearing later this month for the state and abortion clinics to debate whether SB27 should take effect as planned.

In their lawsuit, filed Tuesday, abortion providers – including Planned Parenthood and Preterm Cleveland – said that clinics have not yet been provided with paperwork or rules to follow for the new law. The state has until July to provide documentation, but clinics say they cannot comply in April if they don’t have the rules, and will be forced to start turning away patients seeking abortions.

"Effectively banning all procedural abortions would be in direct violation of Plaintiffs’ patients’ fundamental constitutional right to have an abortion and would cause those patients irreparable harm," the lawsuit reads.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed the fetal remains disposal bill into law in December.

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar fetal disposal law in Indiana.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.