Utah panel approves bill requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated
A state Senate panel in Utah has approved a bill requiring the fetal remains of an abortion or miscarriage to be buried or cremated, advancing the legislation to the full chamber.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 4-2 along partisan lines to push the bill forward, The Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
The measure would provide requirements for health care providers, while allowing mothers to choose which of the options they would prefer.
State Sen. Curt Bramble (R), the bill’s sponsor who has previously supported legislation to restrict abortion access, told the committee that media has misrepresented his bill.
“This bill does not require a woman to dispose of the remains of an aborted fetus,” he said.
He added that the mandate would be on health care providers to provide disposal options, even if they were previously offering.
“Today, when a woman has a miscarriage or an abortion, those remains are treated as medical waste and thrown out as so much refuse,” he said.
Some lawmakers and residents at the hearing questioned whether women would be traumatized from being asked to considering burying or cremating the fetus.
Salt Lake County resident Liz Miller testified during the hearing that she has had two miscarriages, KUER reported.
“Shortly afterwards, I fell into a deep situational depression which I remember vividly to this day,” Miller said. “I cannot fathom the enormous insult to an already unbearable trauma [that] forcing a discussion regarding disposal would cause.”
However, supporters argued that the option of burying or cremating a fetus might not cross a woman’s mind until after leaving their health care provider.
Deanna Holland, vice president of Pro-Life Utah, said doctors “disposed of my baby with the medical waste” after the fetus was removed following a miscarriage.
“I was actually so distressed that it was a few hours before I realized that my child had been disposed of in this manner. By that time there was nothing I could do,” Holland said, according to KUER.