A judge temporarily blocked an Ohio law requiring aborted remains be buried or cremated from taking effect

ohio abortion
An activist in Ohio is seen holding a placard that says keep clinics open during a May 2019 protest.
  • An Ohio judge temporarily blocked a restrictive abortion measure from taking effect.
  • The law requiring aborted fetal remains to be cremated or buried was slated to take effect this week.
  • The judge said the state hadn't created the proper paperwork to execute the law.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A judge in Ohio temporarily blocked a law requiring that medical abortion providers either bury or cremate the fetal tissue extracted during the procedure just before it was set to take effect Tuesday.

Judge Alison Hatheway, a Democrat in Hamilton County, on Monday issued a preliminary injunction against the law just one day before it was scheduled to go into effect, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

In issuing the injunction Monday, Hatheway said that the Ohio Department of Health hadn't yet created the necessary paperwork for the individual receiving the abortion to choose burial or cremation for the remains.

"This substantially interferes with, if not denies, the plaintiffs' patients' rights to access abortion under the Ohio Constitution," Hatheway said, according to the report.

The law, known as Senate Bill 27, passed both of the Republican-controlled chambers of the Ohio Statehouse last year, first clearing the House in March and the Senate in December, and was signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, also in late December.

Existing law in Ohio had required the disposal of any fetal remains, including remains from abortions, miscarriages, or embryos in fertility clinics in a "humane" way. The new law requiring burial or cremation only changed tissue disposal rules for abortion providers.

Clinics that failed to follow the new law were subject to a first-degree misdemeanor charge and could face fines or have their license suspended.

Pro-choice advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and abortion clinics in the state, sued last month to stop it from taking effect.

"Today's ruling is a necessary step to protect abortion access in Ohio - for now," said the Ohio ACLU Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, ACLU, ACLU of Ohio, and Preterm-Cleveland in a joint statement issued Monday.

"We're grateful for this victory for patients and while we can enjoy this moment of relief, there is more work to be done to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible to all Ohioans who need it," it continued.

DeWine, a vocal opponent of abortion access in April 2019 signed a measure known as the "Heartbeat" bill into law, prohibiting abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The law blocked Monday reportedly stemmed from a 2015 investigation DeWine conducted when he was the state's attorney general. While the investigation found Planned Parenthood had not illegally sold fetal tissue, DeWine took issue with the disposal of fetal tissue in a landfill, arguing it did not meet the "humane" requirement under Ohio law.

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