NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Abortion providers will be required to cremate or bury fetal remains if a bill backed by Tennessee Republicans becomes law.
The bill has already secured passage in the Tennessee House and now heads to the Senate.
Opponents of the bill say it’s another attempt by the Republican controlled legislature to control the bodies of women.
House bill 1181, sponsored by Murfreesboro Representative Tim Rudd, instructs medical abortion providers on how to dispose of aborted fetal remains.
“These unborn children, many of them up to almost full term, deserve the same dignity as any other human being,” Rudd said.
The bill says a woman has the right to determine whether the final disposal of the remains is by cremation or burial and the location for the final disposal.
“To me it’s the right thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do and again it’s not about the abortion this is post abortion,” Rudd said.
Representative London Lamar adds the bill is just another attempt by the GOP to legislate women.
“Women’s reproductive choices should not be up for legislative debate, Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and let women make their own choices without further adding financial and mental and emotional burden on that it’s a hard decision,” Lamar, a Memphis Democrat said.
Medical providers must dispose of fetal remains from surgical abortion and cover the cost in the case a mother declines to choose.
Lamar says this is not the way to dissuade women from following through with their pregnancies.
“What we need to focus on here in the legislature is fully funding our education system, expanding healthcare access making sure that the women who do want to have their babies have the maternal care that they need so they can follow through and have healthy babies and live themselves,” Lamar said, “And we must ensure that insurance companies are covering women and poor women so they can make a decision to bring a child in this world.”
Pro-choice protesters say the bill backed by Republican lawmakers is just more window dressing.
“I do appreciate the sentiment, I know what lawmakers are trying to do when they pass a bill like this, but instead of passing a feel-good bill, pass a bill [that] abolishes abortion,” Bo Linam, a pro-life protestor and Lebanon-based pastor said.
Indiana, Ohio, and several other states have similar laws on fetal disposal.
Some of the laws are currently being challenged in the courts.