Pennsylvania House advances bill on handling fetal remains

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania House on Wednesday approved a bill that would require health care facilities to provide for the burial or cremation of fetal remains after a miscarriage or abortion.

Following an emotionally fraught debate in politically riven chamber, the representatives voted 118-83 to send the proposal to the Senate, with all but one Republican and six Democrats in favor.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

The Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act, as it would be known, would require abortion providers and other health care facilities that handle fetal remains to arrange for either their burial or cremation. The parents would be able to make their own arrangements at their own cost.

Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, warned of the costs for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages: “Big Brother is finding you.”

Democrats said the legislation would present families with limited options, and warned that thousands in burial or cremation costs would end up paid by parents, either directly or through insurance.

The GOP floor leader in the House, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff of Centre County, said the bill was “about dignity of this unborn individual.”


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