About a year ago, Ohio enacted a law requiring abortion clinics either to cremate or bury the remains of aborted babies rather than disposing of them as medical waste.
The law requires abortion providers to let women choose whether they want their child’s remains buried or cremated. If a woman declines to decide, the clinic must carry out one or the other at its own cost.
Even before the bill was signed into law, it drew opposition from abortion activists, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which referred to it at the time as “just another method to harass abortion providers and patients.”
With the help of the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, abortion clinics sued the state over the law last spring, arguing that it is both “frivolous and medically unnecessary” and an unconstitutional limit on the supposed right to abortion. A judge sided with the challengers, temporarily prohibiting enforcement of the law based on the claim that the law lacked specific guidelines and made compliance unworkable.
“Without the required rules and forms in place, the plaintiffs will be forced to stop providing procedural abortions because of a real threat of sanctions and penalties independent from criminal prosecution,” judge Alison Hatheway wrote. “This substantially interferes with, if not denies, the plaintiffs’ patients’ rights to access abortion under the Ohio Constitution.”
Late last year, Ohio finalized the rules and forms that the challengers and judge had deemed necessary — but it turns out that still isn’t good enough. Now, abortion clinics in the state are demanding a second stay against the law, arguing once again that it’s an unconstitutional limit on abortion, as well as that it imposes a funeral ritual on patients, regardless of their religious beliefs. Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said compliance with the law “will have a devastating impact on the ability of patients to have autonomy over their own lives.” Iris E. Harvey, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said the the law is “based on misinformation and propaganda used to stigmatize abortion providers and the people we serve.”
But let’s recall what this law is about. It places no limits or restrictions on how an abortion clinic conducts its gruesome business. It puts no limits or restrictions on women who want an abortion. In fact, it doesn’t protect unborn children at all. It merely requires that abortionists dispose of the dead bodies of aborted babies with basic human decency rather than tossing them out with the trash. It says a lot that abortion providers would dare to call such a policy a violation of “abortion rights.”
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