Another choice: Bury or cremate after abortion?

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 07:40:54-05

Women in Ohio who have an abortion may have to make another difficult decision if a bill related to fetal remains disposal is passed: Burial or cremation?

Women would be asked whether they would prefer to bury or cremate the fetal remains from an abortion under House Bill 417. 

The bill is in response to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s report on Ohio’s Planned Parenthood clinics, in which he found that some clinics were disposing of fetal remains in landfills.

Planned Parenthood of Ohio has said DeWine's report was "inflammatory and false."

Rep. Robert McColley, R-Napoleon, said the bill would work to ensure “that the lives of the unborn are treated with dignity and respect.”

Under the proposed bill, hospitals or abortion facilities that perform abortions are required to pay for the disposal of fetal remains.

The bill also allows an abortion facility to arrange the cremation or burial of the remains after receiving consent from the woman or her parents, or if a decision has not been made within a reasonable time after the abortion.

Women should not be forced to have these conversations if they don’t want to, said Gabriel Mann, a spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

“There is nothing that stops women from asking these questions with their doctors,” Mann said. “We just don’t want them to be forced to have that kind of conversation if it’s not something that they’re interested in.”

Mann said the proposed bill could also increase the cost of an abortion.

“We don’t want to lose more providers or have women who can’t afford the procedure because of these additional requirements that aren’t medically necessary,” Mann said.

Joshua Lim is a fellow in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau. You can reach him via email at or follow him on Twitter @JoshuaLim93