By Marie Solis
Anti-choice lawmakers in Pennsylvania have taken recent attempts to implement fetal personhood legislation to a new extreme: A new bill moving through the state legislature would redefine fetal death to mean death at any point in pregnancy, starting at conception, and require health providers to cremate or bury all fetal remains unless the pregnant person chooses to handle disposal on their own.
The bill is written in a way that it would require providers to obtain death certificates not just for miscarriages and abortions, but even for fertilized eggs that don’t implant in the uterus. It would subject anyone who fails to do so to a $50 to $300 fine, or up to 30 days in prison. Death certificates get filed to the state, though the bill says identifying information will remain confidential.
The “Pennsylvania Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act,” or House Bill 1890, is modeled on legislation Vice President Mike Pence signed into law as Indiana governor in 2016, which requires miscarried or aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated. Fetal burial laws serve no medical purpose but add additional costs and regulations on abortion providers.
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