The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, October 01, 2019 1:00 am

Fetal remains law gets a push

Senators want US to use Indiana rule

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Indiana's U.S. senators want to extend across the nation an Indiana law requiring the burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue.

Republican Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young have introduced the Dignity for Aborted Children Act, which is co-sponsored by 10 other GOP senators. Braun's office said the legislation mirrors a 2016 Indiana statute upheld in May by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bill comes in the wake of the recent discovery of 2,246 preserved fetal remains at the Illinois home of the late Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer, who had performed abortions for many years at clinics in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Gary. 

The Braun-Young proposal would require abortion providers to dispose of fetal remains by way of burial or cremation. A provider who fails to do so would face a fine and a prison term of up to five years.

The bill also would require women who have abortions to choose whether to retain possession of the fetal remains or allow abortion providers to bury or cremate them. A provider who does not provide a consent form would face a civil penalty.

“All human remains, regardless of stage of life, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I'm proud to introduce the Dignity for Aborted Children Act to ensure that grotesque collections like Dr. Klopfer's can't be allowed to happen ever again,” Braun said in a statement.

Young said in a statement, “The recent discovery of over 2,200 fetal remains in the home of an Indiana abortionist proves there is a deeply disturbing problem with our current system.” He said the legislation would “ensure the bodies of the unborn are treated with respect.”

In most states, aborted fetal tissue is disposed of by incineration. As of January, Indiana was among nine states with laws dictating the disposal of fetal remains, according to the Wake Forest Law Review.

Republican Rep. Robert Latta of northwestern Ohio's 5th District reintroduced federal legislation this year that would outlaw the disposal of fetal remains in landfills and navigable waters. His bill, the Protecting the Dignity of Unborn Children Act, has not received a hearing from the House Judiciary Committee.

Braun and Young said in a news release their legislation has been endorsed by five organizations that oppose abortion rights: the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, the Family Research Council, National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement that the discovery of fetal remains at Klopfer's house “was a sickening reminder of the abortion industry's radical commitment to abortion above health, safety and basic human dignity.”

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