Meanwhile, in Ohio, funerals will now be required for abortions.

Our entire country is on fire. We are in the midst of an attempted coup (albeit a really fucking stupid one). Four thousand Americans died yesterday from COVID-19. The president is a raving lunatic who is trying to stage a coup from Twitter. Our country is in chaos. And the absolute geniuses in the Ohio statehouse decided their time would be best spent legally mandating funerals for abortions.

Last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 27, to "impose requirements on the final disposition of fetal remains from surgical abortions." Those requirements? Byproducts from surgical abortions have to be buried or cremated and then disposed of in one of the manners set forth in the bill.

At least they limited the abortion funerals to surgical abortions, I guess? Though I'm just waiting for women to have to try to catch their menstrual blood when having a medical abortion. Or miscarriage. Or period. (Nothing like that for men and sperm, of course. That would be ridiculous.)


Mike DeWine apparently spends a lot of time thinking about the best ways to dispose of fetuses. In 2016, when he was Ohio attorney general, he threw a fit and accused Planned Parenthood of illegally "steam-cook[ing]" fetuses. (DeWine's stance on pressure-cooked and barbecued fetuses remains unclear.) The state of Ohio ended up having to pay Planned Parenthood's attorney's fees for DeWine's little stunt, after a court ordered a temporary restraining order against DeWine.

The law creates a misdemeanor for not cremating or burying the abortion in compliance with these rules. And if the abortion is cremated, that's not the end of things! The crematorium then must put the ashes "in a grave, crypt, or niche," or scatter them in a "dignified manner, including a memorial garden, at sea, by air, or at a scattering ground[.]" Ah yes, the Cleveland Memorial Abortion Garden for NOT Steam-Cooked Fetuses. Or perhaps a lovely burial at sea on Lake Erie for your abortion.

... WHY?

There are a few reasons anti-woman extremists push laws like this one. It's an attempt to shame women, obviously, but it's also so much more.

Like basically all abortion restrictions, its main purpose is to hurt both pregnant people and abortion providers. The more you shame people seeking abortions, the harder and more expensive you make it to terminate a pregnancy, the more people you can force to stay pregnant against their wills.

An important function of laws like this is making abortion more burdensome and expensive — for abortion providers and patients alike. This then drives up the cost of abortion, which makes it even more inaccessible than it already is. The cost of terminating a pregnancy — from travel to time off of work to the cost of the procedure itself — is already a huge obstacle for poor and working class women and pregnant people.

Ohio already had restrictive abortion laws that require trying to talk people out of abortions, a waiting period, parental consent, a mandated ultrasound, and a 20-week ban. This will just make it even harder and more expensive to terminate a pregnancy in Ohio.

Sorry, everything about this is bad

Unfortunately, this is not the first law of its kind. Ohio's new steaming pile of walrus shit was reportedly based on an Indiana law signed by then-Governor Mike Pence, who thinks lady parts are icky and in need of government regulation. In 2019, the Supreme Court upheld Indiana's abortion funeral law, reversing a Seventh Circuit opinion striking the law down. However, the plaintiffs in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana notably did not argue that the law placed an undue burden on a woman's right to obtain an abortion, and the Supreme Court specifically noted it was not making a ruling on those merits.

It's unclear whether any abortion providers or civil rights groups will challenge Ohio's new law in court. It seems unlikely, though, that any civil rights or reproductive healthcare organization would want to bring such a challenge right now.

It is very much not a good time to be litigating abortion rights in the US. With the addition of Amy Coat Hanger to the Supreme Court, the anti-woman wackjobs have a clear majority. John Roberts saved our ass last summer in June Medical Services v. Russo, upholding recent precedent finding medically irrelevant TRAP laws unconstitutional — but we have now reached the point at SCOTUS where even John Roberts can't save us.

With Amy Coney Barrett on the Court, we will be looking back with longing to the days of conservative Republican and W-appointee John Roberts, who gutted the Voting Rights Act and dissented in Obergefell, being the swing vote on the Court.

I can say a lot of things about John Roberts and most of them aren't nice. But he cares about precedent (when it's not about Black people voting) and he cares about the reputation of the Court. We are now in a world where the liberals on the Court need both Roberts AND one of Kegs, Gorsuch, Alito (lol), Thomas (LOL), or a cult member who literally calls herself a handmaid.

So ... yeah. I'm thinking abortion and reproductive rights advocates are going to want to stay as far as they can from the Supreme Court right now. Shithole states are going to keep trying to make abortion illegal and cases will almost certainly have to be brought to challenge the more extreme restrictions, like those super fun laws that basically try to ban all abortion.

So, for the foreseeable future, Ohio abortions will get legally mandated funerals.

Great.

I'll just be over here waiting for the laws requiring funerals for every lost spermatozoa.

[SB 27]

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Jamie Lynn Crofts
Jamie Lynn Crofts is sick of your bullshit. When she’s not wrangling cats, she’s probably writing about nerdy legal stuff, rocking out at karaoke, or tweeting about god knows what. Jamie would kindly like to remind everyone that it’s perfectly legal to tell Bob Murray to eat shit.
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