Federal judge issues TRO preventing Ohio from stopping PPFA’s “callous and completely inhumane” disposal of fetal remains

By Dave Andrusko

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

Federal Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. issued a temporary restraining order Monday that blocked Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine from filing an injunction to prevent Planned Parenthood from disposing of fetal remains in a manner that DeWine described as “callous and completely inhumane.”

Judge Sargus’s action came after Planned Parenthood called the allegations “inflammatory” and filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Ohio. “The group says its three facilities that provide abortions follow Ohio law and use the same practices as hospitals and other providers, which generally contract with companies to dispose of medical waste,” according to the Associated Press.

Stephanie Knight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said that “after fetal tissue is processed, it goes to a solid waste facility that is licensed to handle medical waste,” the AP reported.

However, at a press conference last week, DeWine said, “I think it will come as a shock to Ohioans to find out that fetuses are being cooked and then they’re being put in a landfill and they’re going to be mixed in with yesterday’s garbage.”

In a press release, Ohio Right to Life said it

joins Attorney General DeWine in calling on the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation to ensure that the aborted remains of babies are treated humanely. The organization is currently working with Representative Robert McColley (R-Napoleon), Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield), and Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) to introduce such legislation. This bill would limit the number of options available to abortionists to humane burial and cremation; increase informed consent by requiring full disclosure to women pursuing abortions of the abortionist’s intent for disposing of the aborted baby; and set a penalty for the violation of the statute as a first degree misdemeanor.

DeWine began an investigation of three of Planned Parenthood’s Ohio affiliates to determine whether affiliates in Bedford Heights, Cincinnati, and Columbus were violating state law by selling fetal tissue.

After a five-month investigation, the report concluded that they had not but “investigators discovered that all three Planned Parenthood affiliates were sending fetal remains to companies that were disposing of these remains in landfills, oftentimes intermingled with other common residential and commercial trash,” according to Madison Gesiotto, who is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, in a piece written for the Washington Times.

In its lawsuit Planned Parenthood of Ohio says “it’s never been cited by the Ohio Department of Health, which licenses abortion facilities in Ohio, for violating the disposal regulations,” according to the AP’s Ann Sanner.

The effect of Judge Sargus’ temporary restraining order is that it effectively blocks any state legal action until January 11.