Indiana Reinstates Law Requiring Fetal Remains from Abortions to Be Buried or Cremated

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On Monday, a federal appeals court reinstated an Indiana law originally signed into law in 2016 that requires abortion clinics to pay for burial or cremation of aborted fetal remains. This 7th Circuit ruling overturns a September decision by an Indiana judge that blocked the law for violating abortion patients' right to freedom of religion.
The fetal burial law was first challenged in court in 2020 by Indianapolis-based abortion clinic Women's Med Group, which said in its lawsuit that such requirements cause "shame, stigma [and] fear," particularly for people who are about to miscarry "Send the unequivocal message that someone who has had an abortion or miscarriage is responsible for a person's death." Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) — famous for slandering and intimidating an Indiana doctor, who aborted a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim — called Monday's verdict a "victory for basic decency" and claimed embryos and fetuses "are human beings who deserve the dignity of cremation or burial."
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Although abortion is still legal in Indiana at this time, the cost of burial or cremation of aborted fetal remains — which can amount to around $2,000 — could pose a serious barrier to abortion availability and access. Of course, the point of laws like this is to create more barriers and stigma around abortion. That and the Surveillance: In some states, like Ohio, fetal burial laws require those who have abortions to obtain a death certificate that is public knowledge, at a time when criminal charges for pregnancy outcomes and abortion are rapidly increasing . In Indiana, a death certificate is required for loss of pregnancy at or after 20 weeks.
Fetal remains are often monitored by anti-abortion advocates, state governments, and even law enforcement agencies. As Politico reported last week, anti-abortion activists are currently petitioning the FDA to require abortion providers to dispose of any tissue a person produces after taking abortion pills, baselessly claiming that that tissue poses an environmental hazard. (Abortion pills are recommended during the 12th week of pregnancy, which means the tissue they produce is similar to the blood typically expelled during menstruation or miscarriage.)
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There have also been several cases of people being prosecuted for "gross mistreatment of a corpse" and alleged mistreatment of their fetal remains after experiencing a stillbirth or miscarriage. As recently as 2019, Ohio's Brooke Skylar Richardson was charged with first-degree murder, manslaughter, child endangerment and gross abuse of a corpse after burying a stillborn fetus in her backyard when she was an 18-year-old high school student.
In any case, it probably wouldn't surprise you that the man who signed Indiana's fetal burial regulation into law in 2016 was none other than former Gov. Mike Pence (R). His support for the law spawned the Periods for Pence campaign that year, with people across the state bombarding his office with photos or graphic details about their periods to raise awareness that "fertilized eggs during a period... woman can be expelled without a woman even knowing “You are pregnant. But it seems that whenever a white anti-abortionist leaves his post, another always shows up to carry on his oppressive legacy.
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