The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit late last week seeking to block an Ohio law that requires abortion facilities to bury or cremate the remains of aborted babies.
The law, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed in 2020, helps ensure that abortion facilities are not selling aborted baby body parts or disposing their bodies with medical waste. It requires abortion facilities to bury or cremate aborted babies’ bodies or allow the mother to make arrangements to do so herself. Failure to comply could result in misdemeanor charges or loss of medical license.
In the lawsuit, the ACLU of Ohio claims the law unconstitutionally restricts women’s access to abortion, the Ohio Capital Journal reports.
The ACLU asked the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to block the law, claiming the action is “critical … to ensure patients are able to exercise their constitutionally protected right to obtain essential health care and determine the course of their own lives.”
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“Compliance with SB 27 will have a devastating impact on the ability of patients to have autonomy over their own lives,” said Freda Levenson, the legal director of ACLU of Ohio, in a statement. “The effect of the law will be to delay procedural abortions forcing patients to carry an unwanted pregnancy for weeks or months, and then to undergo riskier and more expensive procedures.”
Last year, the ACLU filed another lawsuit to block the law until the Ohio Department of Health finalized the rules and forms for compliance, and a judge temporarily blocked it. Now that the rules are in place, however, Ohio abortion businesses must comply, starting Feb. 8, according to the report.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said they are confident that the law will be upheld in court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a similar Indiana law in 2019.
“SB 27 simply dignifies the life of a child who died because of an abortion and provides a proper burial for that child,” Gonidakis told the Cleveland Dispatch. “The ACLU will do everything in its power to sterilize abortion and attempt to hide the fact that a successful abortion leads to the death of an innocent child. Planned Parenthood would rather have all aborted babies carted off to landfills in metal containers. The inhumanity of the ACLU and Planned Parenthood knows no boundaries.”
The Springfield News-Sun reports Ohio recorded 20,605 abortions in 2020, a little more than half of which were surgical abortions. Chemical, or drug-induced abortions, do not apply under the new law because women give birth to their aborted babies at home, and they typically are instructed to flush the baby’s body down the toilet.
Mark Harrington, president of the pro-life organization Created Equal, said the law poses a major threat to the abortion industry, and he hopes the courts will recognize its importance.
“Laws requiring aborted babies to receive a dignified final disposition in some ways pose a bigger threat than many abortion bans do. Because abortionists are the dregs of medicine, they will be unable to comply with these new regulations. That is why the abortion industry is fighting so hard to challenge this law,” Harrington said. “The courts ought to uphold this law and the dignity of human life.”
In the past several years, a number of states have passed legislation to regulate how abortion facilities dispose of aborted babies’ bodies. Their actions came in the wake of viral undercover videos that exposed top officials at Planned Parenthood negotiating the prices of aborted babies’ body parts. In 2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s office discovered that Planned Parenthoods in Ohio contract with waste disposal companies that dispose of aborted babies in landfills.
A gruesome discovery inside a late Indiana abortionist’s garage in 2019 further demonstrated the need for such laws. In September 2019, authorities found 2,246 medically preserved remains of aborted babies stored in boxes in the former Indiana abortionist Ulrich Klopfer’s garage in Illinois. A few weeks later, they found 165 more babies’ remains in a vehicle stored on one of his properties. Klopfer’s family reported finding the remains shortly after he died.
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