Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed into law a controversial bill "regarding the disposition of fetal remains from surgical abortion." The 12-page bill outlines a number of Draconian requirements for people wishing to make personal decisions about their own health and bodily autonomy as it relates to the termination of a pregnancy. It repeatedly employs vague and unscientific language such as "unborn human individual" which has no standardly accepted legal, linguistic, or factual basis.
It also requires physicians to perform a ritualistic script of mortifying, embarrassing, and potentially psychologically damaging questions before providing a pregnant person with basic healthcare for their body; if a physician refuses to engage in this disgusting ritual, they are liable to suffer legal penalties.
And then there's this:
The pregnant woman is responsible for the costs related to the final disposition of the fetal remains at the [abortion facility's] chosen location.
Failure to pay for adequate funeral services—or at least, "adequate" according to the arbitrary criteria set forth by the abortion provider—will result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
Maybe that doesn't sound terrible, if you assume your abortion provider has basic human empathy. But here's the trick: according to the Guttmacher Institute, 93% of Ohio counties have no clinics that provide abortions. Meaning your doctors—likely men—could very well be total strangers servicing areas some 3 hours away from where you live. Speaking of, the Ohio House recently passed a law banning telemedicine for reproductive health issues, although the governor hasn't yet signed that into law.
So let's be clear: this law only exists to punish people who have abortions with cruel psychological and financial torture, thereby further disincentivizing abortions. And that will only lead to more funeral costs from people who get pregnant and either try to self-induce abortions; or end their own lives; or die from other medical complications because our heinously patriarchal nation has the worst maternal death in the developed world.
Ohio governor signs bill requiring women to choose burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue [Joseph Choi / The Hill]
Ohio governor signs bill requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains [Chicago Tribune]
Image: Lorie Shaull / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)