Pennsylvania House Passes Law Requiring Proper Burial or Cremation for Babies Killed in Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 19, 2019   |   2:42PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

The Pennsylvania House passed a bill Monday that would require aborted and miscarried babies to be provided with a dignified burial.

State House Bill 1890, sponsored by Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, received bipartisan support in a 123-76 vote, WSKG News reports. It now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

The bill would require health care facilities to bury or cremate the remains of unborn babies who died in abortions or miscarriages or give parents the option of burying their baby themselves. It does not require burial/cremation for babies miscarried at home.

Ryan said he crafted the bill to give grieving parents the opportunity to provide a dignified burial for their child. He said he and his wife lost their first baby to miscarriage and their baby’s body was disposed of without their knowledge.

“We wanted to craft something that was voluntary, that provided the family with the ability for closure, the ability to understand that a human life was lost, their life, that they’d been striving for for so long,” Ryan said.

He told ABC 27 earlier this month:

Ryan said he and his wife felt isolated in their grief. He said it was something people didn’t talk about and were expected to just ‘get over.’

Decades later, he doesn’t want anyone to just ‘get over it.’ His bill would require hospitals to give patients the option of receiving a child’s remains.

“It’s strictly voluntary. Some of the initial reports came out and said that it wasn’t and it was mandated a funeral, which was just pure nonsense. That would be cruel.” Ryan said.

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State Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren, a leading pro-life advocate in the state legislature, said their desire is to help grieving parents and encourage the respectful treatment of all human remains, the AP reports.

“This bill will give parents the comfort of knowing that they will now have the right to determine the resting place of their child’s remains,” Rapp said.

Pro-abortion Democrats, however, have been attacking the legislation by claiming it is just another attempt to restrict abortions. During a committee hearing in October, state Rep. Wendy Ullman drew widespread outrage when she described a miscarried baby as “just some mess on a napkin.” Ullman is a pro-abortion Democrat who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood. She opposed the bill.

The AP reports Gov. Tom Wolf, a pro-abortion Democrat and former Planned Parenthood volunteer, said he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

But Tom Shaheen, vice president for policy at the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said the legislation is important because health care facilities treat aborted and miscarried babies as medical waste, rather than human beings.

“That must change,” Shaheen said. “Human beings that are lost to an early miscarriage or abortion are still human beings and should be treated with dignity and respect.”

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.

ACTION: Contact Pennsylvania state lawmakers and ask them to support HB 1890.