State Watch

Pennsylvania bill would require burials, cremation for fetal remains after abortion, miscarriage

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A bill being considered by state legislators in Pennsylvania would require health care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains after an abortion or miscarriage. 

House Bill 1890, which was introduced by predominantly Republican group of lawmakers in September and passed by the GOP-led state House last week, is now being considered in the state Senate. 

The bill, also known the Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act, seeks to require health care facilities to bury or cremate the remains of a fetus after an abortion or miscarriage if they are not claimed by a parent for disposition. 

“Upon the fetal death of an unborn child, if a parent of the unborn child selects a location for the final disposition of the fetal remains other than a location that is usual and customary for a health care facility, the parent shall be responsible for the costs relating to the final disposition of the fetal remains,” the bill also states.

The term “fetal death” is defined in the bill text as “expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception which shows no evidence of life after the expulsion or extraction.” A number of reports have noted that such language could also apply to fertilized eggs. 

State Rep. Frank Ryan, who sponsored the legislation, told The Associated Press that “wanted to craft something that was voluntary, that provided the family with the ability for closure, the ability to understand that a human life was lost, their life, that they’d been striving for for so long.”

However, a number of Democratic legislators have come out against the legislation.

State Rep. Mary Isaacson (D) told the news agency that the bill presents a “mandate, not a choice” and labelled it as “yet another attempt to harass abortion providers.”

State Rep. Dan Frankel (D) also told AP that “the people who treat patients and the patients themselves are telling us this bill is cruel, redundant and poorly drafted.” 

“It will hurt families during a vulnerable time,” she added. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has reportedly vowed to veto the legislation.


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