Feb 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ohio judge blocks law requiring fetal tissue to be cremated after abortion

Picture of a person holding a placard that says "protect safe, legal abortion"

An activist holding a placard at a protest in Dayton, Ohio. Photo: Megan Jelinger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Ohio judge on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction blocking a state law that would require embryonic and fetal tissue to be cremated or buried after an abortion.

The big picture: This is the second time Hamilton County Judge Alison Hatheway has temporarily blocked Senate Bill 27. She first did last April, days before it was scheduled to go into effect.

  • In Wednesday's order, Hatheway said the bill would not go into effect until she makes her final judgement on the case. Providers would have been required to be compliance with the law by Feb. 8

State of play: Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit earlier this month on behalf of abortion providers, arguing that the law "would impose severe burdens on patients and stigmatize abortion even further."

Details: The bill would punish abortion provider workers who refuse to cremate or bury the fetal tissue with a first-degree misdemeanor penalty, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

  • The law requires that, if cremated, the tissue be scattered in a "dignified manner, including in a memorial garden, at sea, by air, or at a scattering ground."
  • Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike DeWine had signed the bill into law in December 2020.

What they're saying: "Today’s ruling reaffirms what we already know to be true: aggressive and cruel regulations like SB27 serve no other purpose than to impose severe burdens on abortion patients and providers, and to shame and stigmatize patients seeking essential health care," said representatives from Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Ohio abortion providers.

  • "Compliance with this law would have a devastating impact on the ability of Ohioans to access time-sensitive health care, and intentionally denies them autonomy over their own lives, especially harming people with low-incomes, our Black, Latino and Indigenous communities, and people in rural communities."
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