Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Activists are seen holding placards during the protest. Abortion rights activists took part in stop the bans rally nationwide after multiple states pass fetal heartbeat bills. (Photo: Megan Jelinger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Reproductive rights advocates protest Ohio's "fetal heartbeat" anti-abortion law, one of the nation's most restrictive, in Dayton, Ohio on May 19, 2019. (Photo: Megan Jelinger/SOPA/Light Rocket via Getty Images)

Reproductive Rights Advocates Slam 'Unconstitutional and Medically Unnecessary' Fetal Remains Law Signed by Ohio Governor

The ACLU called Senate Bill 27 "just one more transparent attempt to obstruct Ohioans from exercising their constitutionally protected reproductive rights."

Brett Wilkins

Reproductive rights and civil liberties groups condemned as "unconstitutional and medically unnecessary" a bill signed into law Wednesday by Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains resulting from abortion. 

"The only purpose of Senate Bill 27 is to further stigmatize/shame abortion and attack abortion providers across the state. During a global pandemic, the *only* priority for Ohio Republicans is restricting access to safe, legal abortion."
—Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio  

Senate Bill 27, an update of a 1975 law, requires the "humane disposition of the product of human conception"—specifically, any "zygote, blastocyte, embryo, or fetus," either by "burial or entombment" or cremation "in a crematory facility." 

Under the law, anyone having an abortion in Ohio will be notified beforehand that they can choose the method and location of fetal disposition. If they do not choose, it is up to the abortion provider to decide and pay for the burial or cremation. Healthcare providers who do not comply face potential first-degree misdemeanor charges that carry a $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison.

As state attorney general, DeWine conducted an investigation into unfounded allegations that Planned Parenthood of Ohio profited from the sale of aborted fetuses. However, the probe found that fetal remains had been disposed of in landfills, sparking outrage from anti-abortion advocates and prompting the new law. 

As governor, DeWine has been a consistent foe of reproductive rights. Last year, he signed a so-called "fetal heartbeat" bill, one of the nation's most restrictive anti-choice laws, that was subsequently challenged in court by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio and the ACLU. Last July, a judge temporarily blocked the law pending further litigation.

Both Planned Parenthood and the ACLU blasted the updated fetal remains law. 

"The only purpose of Senate Bill 27 is to further stigmatize/shame abortion and attack abortion providers across the state," tweeted Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. "During a global pandemic, the *only* priority for Ohio Republicans is restricting access to safe, legal abortion."

In a statement against the measure earlier this month Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin, vice president of government affairs and public advocacy at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, said that "in the middle of a pandemic, Republican lawmakers are working yet again to strip Ohioans of their health care and trying to close health centers."

"Not only is Senate Bill 27 unconstitutional and medically unnecessary, it also adds yet another barrier for patients who are trying to access abortion services—which is the legislature's real goal," added Blauvelt-Copelin. "This bill is about politics. It's about forcing health centers to close. Ohioans deserve better."

Planned Parenthood also noted that "Senate Bill 260—which bans the use of telemedicine or medication abortions—is currently sitting on DeWine's desk."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Poll: Overwhelming Majority of US Voters Want Robust Regulation of Tech Companies

"When it comes to Big Tech's monopoly power and surveillance business model, the public is unified: They want action. They want to see the Big Tech companies broken up and users' privacy protected."

Brett Wilkins ·


228 Republicans Blasted for Brief Urging Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

"Every single politician who signed this amicus brief is actively working to strip away our fundamental freedoms and endanger pregnant people and families across the country."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Historic Victory': Bayer to End US Residential Sales of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

"As agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It's time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses."

Kenny Stancil ·


73 Major Corporations Paid Just 5.3% Federal Tax Rate Between 2018 and 2020: Report

Thirty-nine other companies paid no federal corporate tax during the three-year period, in which they collectively reaped over $120 billion in profits.

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Asks Congress to Act to Prevent Evictions—Just 3 Days Before Moratorium Expires

"These calls should have come weeks ago, not 72 hours before the moratorium expires."

Jake Johnson ·