A Pennsylvania Democrat lawmaker is receiving calls for her resignation after she referred to a miscarried baby as a “mess on a napkin” last week.
State Rep. Wendy Ullman, a pro-abortion Democrat representing Bucks County, apologized for her insensitive remarks Friday on social media after national news coverage of her comments caused outrage.
But, as the Daily Wire first noticed, many women who have experienced miscarriages are saying that her apology is not enough.
Ullman’s initial comments came in response to state House Bill 1890, which would require health care facilities to bury or cremate the remains of unborn babies who died in abortions or miscarriages. It does not require burial/cremation for babies miscarried at home.
“An early miscarriage is just some mess on a napkin,” Ullman said during a House committee meeting last week, according to a video shared by the Pennsylvania Family Council.
Ullman implied that miscarried and aborted babies are not valuable enough to be buried or cremated, saying, “And I’m not sure people would agree that this is something that we want to take to the point of ritual, either cremation or interment.”
She was endorsed by Planned Parenthood during her election campaign, and she voted against the bill.
On Friday, Ullman apologized for choosing her words “poorly.”
“Many women and families find tremendous comfort and solace in ritual burial or cremation in the case of early miscarriages, but others do not,” she wrote online. “Some would choose donation for medical research, like my family friend, who I quoted in a committee meeting, saying, ‘So my loss can have meaning.’
“In the discussion, which was on a bill that would require ritual burial or cremation following any miscarriage, I was in near-tears relaying a story of my family friend,” Ullman continued. “This issue is intensely important to me, and that’s why I struggled for words. My words were poorly chosen, and I apologize. I remain steadfast that every single step of a medical process, including the handling of remains, should be decided by a patient and her doctor.”
She posted her comments on Twitter and Facebook, but neither post received a positive response. Instead, there were just “a few dozen ‘likes’” compared to “thousands of replies — most all of which were in outraged opposition with the lawmaker, including some detailing personal stories of miscarriage,” according to the Daily Wire.
Some people posted comments urging Ullman to resign, while others expressed hope that she would learn from the experience and realize that unborn babies are valuable human beings who deserve protection.
“Tell my mother, aunt, sister and sister-in-law that their miscarriages were nothing. Resign and disappear,” one person commented.
Several mothers also shared ultrasound images and photos of their miscarried babies on Ullman’s Facebook page to help her understand how valuable a baby’s life is, no matter how short.
“Please also apologize to my daughter,” one woman wrote, sharing an ultrasound image of her miscarried child. “Unfortunately that is the only ultrasound of her. The only picture I will ever have of her because at other ultrasounds I didn’t end up with any pictures. We miscarried her at 17 weeks and this is the second baby we lost (the first was at 12 weeks). My heart shattered. My healing is in progress, but my ache to hold either of our babies won’t go away.”
Another grieving mother shared a photo of her miscarried baby’s headstone: “This is where my daughter and her 10 fingers and 10 toes are buried. At 12 weeks 6 days, she was considered an early miscarriage by just a few days. Your words were more than just poorly chosen.”
Tom Shaheen, vice president for policy for Pennsylvania Family Institute, called Ullman’s comments “callous” and “heartless” toward families who have lost a child.
“A miscarriage, no matter how early, does not result in a ‘mess on a napkin’ but the loss of a child,” Shaheen said. “Each human life deserves respect, even when lost at an early stage in development.”
“The remains of human beings should be treated better than medical waste. Rep. Frank Ryan’s bill is a compassionate effort to help offer some closure to many mothers and families in Pennsylvania,” Shaheen added.
The pro-life organization thanked state Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren), lead sponsor Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) and all of the lawmakers who support the pro-life legislation.
Similar legislation has passed in other parts of the country. In 2016, Indiana passed a law under then-Gov. Mike Pence to help ensure that aborted babies’ remains are properly disposed of and not sold. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law earlier this year. Texas leaders are fighting to defend a similar burial law in court in their state.