The Pennsylvania House passed a pro-life bill Wednesday to provide a dignified disposition for the bodies of aborted and miscarried babies.
The Unborn Child Dignity Act (state House Bill 118) passed with bipartisan support in a 118-83 vote, despite false and misleading accusations by some Democrat lawmakers, parroted by some news outlets. It now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
The bill would require health care clinics and abortion facilities to offer mothers the option of burial or cremation for their miscarried or aborted babies. It also would ensure that abortion facilities do not throw out aborted babies with other medical waste.
“This is a bill that’s intended to be compassionate, provide an option and to help the healing process for all those that have suffered through this horrific tragedy of the loss of a child,” said state Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon, the lead sponsor of the bill, according to the Associated Press.
Ryan said he and his wife lost their first baby to miscarriage and their baby’s body was disposed of without their knowledge.
Since Ryan introduced the bill, lawmakers and state pro-life leaders have had to refute a number of misleading accusations about forcing women to bury and pay for their aborted babies’ disposal.
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“Radical pro-abortion politicians — like state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh — attempted to derail a compassionate and necessary bill because it improves policy on abortion,” said Alexis Stefani with Pennsylvania Family Institute. “Yet truth prevailed and we’re thankful for the bipartisan majority vote by our state representatives to pass the Unborn Child Dignity Act.”
During the House debate, Frankel claimed that the bill would force women to bury their fetal remains, Pennsylvania State Capital Bureau reports.
“Women shouldn’t have burials forced on them,” Frankel said.
State Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren County, responded that the bill just offers parents a choice, and it does not mandate anything, according to the report.
Snopes, a left leaning fact checker, also refuted pro-abortion Democrats’ false claims, writing: “Pennsylvania law does not require patients themselves to register fetal deaths, or file, obtain or pay for a fetal death certificate, and it does not fine them for having a miscarriage. The bill would not introduce such legal requirements,” the fact checker determined.
However, the fact check, pro-life lawmakers’ assurances and the bill itself did not stop pro-abortion lawmakers and some news outlets from repeating the false claims anyway. For example, the Pennsylvania State Capital Bureau began its article this way: “A Republican-backed bill that Democrats argue would force grieving parents to either bury or cremate fetal remains from a miscarriage, but which supporters say simply gives them an option, passed the state House on Wednesday.”
State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, who remains in office despite filming himself bullying young teenage girls who were praying outside an abortion facility and offering money to anyone who would identify them publicly, had his microphone cut off twice during the debate after angrily criticizing lawmakers who want to give grieving parents a choice about their dead babies’ bodies.
According to the report, Sims accused Republican House lawmakers of being “entirely white” and anti-woman. He said the pro-life bill is part of “a political theater that has plagued this chamber for far too long.”
Here’s more from the report:
[House Speaker Bryan Cutler] cut Sims off and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff immediately objected to Sims’ comments, saying he would not have his caucus insulted.
Cutler huddled with leaders from both parties for several minutes before returning and reading the debate rules to lawmakers, but, given another chance, Sims immediately repeated his comment about the racial makeup of the GOP Caucus.
An exasperated Cutler again cut Sims’ mic and, after more whispering among leaders, said Sims had forfeited his time by being persistently irrelevant in his remarks.
Meanwhile, the AP reports pro-life lawmakers defended the bill as an opportunity to respect grieving parents and babies who die before birth. Benninghoff said the legislation will provide “dignity” for “this unborn individual,” and state Rep. Tim Bonner, R-Mercer, said it will encourage “eternal peace and a dignified and respectful place of rest for those who have died far too young.”
On Tuesday, however, Gov. Tom Wolf, a radical pro-abortion Democrat who used to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, said he will veto the bill.
“It’s despicable that Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are actively working to criminalize health care decisions,” Wolf wrote on Twitter. “Abortion is health care. It’s not a politician’s place to decide what a woman can and cannot do with her body.”
The bill is expected to pass the state Senate as well, but it is not clear if there are enough votes to override Wolf’s veto.
Stefani of the Pennsylvania Family Institute said it’s time for the state to recognize unborn babies for the precious human beings who they are.
“A preborn child who tragically dies from a miscarriage is not just … ‘medical hazardous waste’ but a deceased human being. It’s time our healthcare system collectively treats these babies with human dignity and provides families with compassionate options,” Stefani said.