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Bill requiring dignified disposition of the bodies of aborted babies sent to pro-life Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

by | Apr 21, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

After passing the House (69-22) on Monday and the Senate today (27-6) , House Bill 1181 is now on its way to pro-life Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for his expected signature, according to Yue Stella Yu of the (Nashville) Tennessean.

In a story that in parts read like a Planned Parenthood press release, Yu did get one thing right. Under HB 1181, the remains of surgically aborted babies must be buried or cremated rather than treated as mere “medical tissue.”

If Gov. Lee signs, the bill, Tennessee will become the 12th state to enact requirements for the dignified disposition of the bodies of aborted babies.

“Tennessee code requires pets and animals to be disposed of by burial or cremation but there is no such law active in Tennessee for aborted fetal remains,” said Rep. Tim Rudd, a Republican from Murfreesboro. “I think it’s time for Tennessee to step up and give the same level of dignity given to a dead pet to a dead human being.” 

State Sen. Janice Bowling, the bill’s sponsor, said Wednesday.  “This legislation strives to extend the same protection, the same respect and dignity to a deceased surgically-aborted child.” 

Needless to say, pro-abortionists saw it otherwise. According to Ms. Yu’s story, “This bill was never about dignity,” Anna Flores of Planned Parenthood’s Tennessee chapter said during a Monday protest. “They want to chip away at our rights little by little, hoping we don’t notice until suddenly, our bodily autonomy is gone completely.” 

Ms. Yu grudgingly conceded the law is likely constitutional.

“The bill comes at a time when the state government is already fighting lawsuits over abortion in federal court,” she wrote. “But the issue will likely survive a legal fight if challenged in court, since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar Indiana law in 2019.

As NRL News Today explained on Tuesday, this is an allusion to the May 28,  2019, decision in  Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky upholding Indiana’s law.

 “The court sided with Indiana that unborn human remains must receive dignified disposal, Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life said at the time. “Humane disposal takes us one step closer to recognizing the dignity of unborn children. Aborted children may no longer be treated as medical waste or garbage. Instead, these precious lives will be required by law to receive a burial or cremation.

Prior to arriving at the Supreme Court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals  had found the Indiana law invalid. But in  Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, the justices noted

This Court has already acknowledged that a State has a “legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains.”  [The 1983 “Akron” case.] The Seventh Circuit clearly erred in failing to recognize that interest as a permissible basis for Indiana’s disposition law.”

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