Utah Passes Bill Requiring Abortion Clinics To Bury Or Cremate Fetal Tissue

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Read it in its entirety here.

Medical providers in Utah will be required to bury or cremate fetal tissue after an abortion or miscarriage under a bill that passed the state legislature on Friday. 

Reproductive rights groups say the legislation, now on its way to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk, will make it harder for abortion clinics to operate and will impose additional emotional and financial stresses on their patients. 

If the bill becomes law, medical providers will start asking women how they want to dispose of fetal tissue after an abortion or miscarriage, either by burial or cremation. Women will likely incur the associated cost. 

Herbert is currently reviewing the bill and has not indicated if he intends to sign or veto it.

Utah only has two abortion clinics left in the state. Both told HuffPost they were confused by the bill and unclear how to comply. They would likely have to enter into vendor relationships with funeral homes, which may feel pressure from anti-abortion groups not to cooperate. 

Utah’s legislation was modeled on an Indiana law that the Supreme Court upheld in 2019. Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas have fetal remains laws that have been blocked amid lawsuits.

Five other states ― Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin ― are considering similar bills this year, said Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at Guttmacher Institute.

“These regulations have nothing to do with public health or patient health,” she said. “They have everything to do with trying to find ways to make it hard to keep the clinic doors open.”

Lauren Simpson, the policy director at Alliance for a Better Utah, said the bill is really about bolstering legal support for banning abortion in the state.  

“That has always been the true purpose of the bill, and it’s using women’s experiences with miscarriage as well as abortion as political pawns to that end,” she said. “Some patients are definitely going to be traumatized by this. It’s imposing a politician’s extreme ideological agenda on to one of the most personal and sensitive experiences a person can have.”

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Read it in its entirety here.

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