COLUMBUS, Ohio — A House panel in Ohio has approved a bill that regulates the disposal of aborted babies following discovery by the state attorney general’s office last year that the bodies of unborn children had been dumped in landfills by medical waste companies.
As previously reported, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who identifies as pro-life and believes that abortion is “morally reprehensible,” announced last December that his Charitable Law Section found that the children were being either steam treated or incinerated and then dumped into a landfill with household and commercial trash.
He said that the practice is illegal as it violates Chapter 3701-47-05 of the Ohio abortion law, which states that a “fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner.”
DeWine’s office, which was initially investigating Planned Parenthood to determine whether the organization was selling body parts in the state, found that Accu Medical Waste Service, Inc. in Marietta had been serving the Cincinnati and Columbus Planned Parenthood locations, and had transported the containers of aborted babies to its steam plant where they were autoclaved and then trucked to a landfill in Kentucky. The company severed its ties with the abortion industry last week due to “adverse attention” over the matter.
The medical waste giant Stericycle, which serves the Bedford Heights Planned Parenthood, had been picking up aborted babies from the location and either having them steamed or incinerated, depending on how Planned Parenthood had marked the boxes. The fetal remains were then trucked to Republic Services Carbon Limestone Landfill in Lowellville after being treated.
“All three Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates have sent fetal remains to companies which disposed of the fetuses in landfill,” an investigative report from DeWine’s office outlined.
DeWine took the matter to court to stop the aborted babies from being disposed of in landfills, but his request for an injunction was denied.
In the interim, lawmakers crafted H.B. 417 and 419 to provide clarification to existing law, and requires that fetal remains be either buried, cremated or incinerated. Medical waste companies had currently been incinerating the containers of aborted babies in some cases, but had been mixed them in with trash.
The proposed bills, sponsored by Rep. Robert McColley, R-Napoleon, and Rep. Barbara Sears, R-Sylvania, would require that the babies be incinerated alone, and that mothers give directives as to how they want their child disposed.
On Wednesday, the House Health and Aging Committee approved both bills along party lines, generating criticism from abortion advocacy groups.
“This is simply yet another way to punish women and the medical community for abortion,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio told reporters. “There’s no justification other than they want to make abortions more difficult to access.”
But Sears said that bills would do nothing to stop abortion in the state, as they only require that the bodies of the babies be disposed of humanely and not with the trash.
“It doesn’t make it any more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion, if that’s what her choice is,” she stated. “It clarifies errors or inconsistencies we have in existing law that left things subjective.”