A bill that would require fetal remains from abortions to be cremated or buried is heading to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk.
After passing 69-22 in the House and 27-6 in the Senate, Lee is the final stop for the bill to be signed into law.
The governor has a history of supporting anti-abortion legislation. Last year he signed a controversial “heartbeat” bill into law that restricted abortions after about six weeks into pregnancy.
Sponsored by Tullahoma Republican Janice Bowling, this new measure (HB1181/SB 828) would require abortion clinics to cover the cost of the mortuary services.
Supporters of the bill pose that this will ensure respect and dignity for the aborted. Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, said he was horrified by the current treatment of fetal remains.
“We have to restore dignity to this process. We have to think of this not as medical waste or biomass. We have to think about this as life,” said Roberts.
But opponents point out that the measure does not address the disposal of fetal remains in hospitals or those who undergo miscarriages. Nashville Democrat Heidi Campbell opposed the legislation at the Senate hearing today, saying it will have alternative outcomes than intended.
“The legislature shouldn’t be in the business of regulating complicated medical issues,” she said. “Big government overreach into our personal life creates more problems than it solves.”
One of these problems could be traumatizing effects on those seeking abortions, opponents say.
“I think requiring cremation is truly an undue and really emotional burden to place on a family,” said Democratic Sen. Raumesh Akbari.