Bill to require dignified disposal of the remains of aborted babies is “gaining traction” in both legislative houses in Tennessee

By Dave Andrusko

 A bill, HB 1181, that  would require the burial or cremation of all fetal remains in the State of Tennessee was said to be “gaining traction” Wednesday in both the Senate and House.

Reporting on the  Unborn Child Dignity Act for the Associated Press, Kimberlee Kruesi quoted Rep. Tim Rudd, a Republican from Murfreesboro, who said, “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.” He added, “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.”

Will Brewer, a lobbyist for Tennessee Right to Life, said that the  May 28, 2019,  U.S. Supreme Court decision in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky upheld an Indiana law requiring fetal remains from an abortion be buried or cremated. “This court decision is powerful in supporting Tennessee Bill 1181 that is similar in scope and purpose,” Tennessee Right to Life said.

As NRL News Today reported at the time, the justices held off for another day one part of a 2016 Indiana abortion law– banning abortions (in Justice Clarence Thomas’s words) “when the provider knows that the mother is seeking the abortion solely because of the child’s race, sex, diagnosis of Down syndrome, disability, or related characteristics”– while overturning a decision by a divided three-panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit which blocked Indiana’s law requiring the humane disposal of the bodies of aborted babies from taking effect.

According to Kruesi, HB 1181 “states that the pregnant woman ‘has a right to determine’ the method and location for the final disposal of the fetal remains, but could choose not to exercise that right. Hospitals would be excluded under the proposed bill.” HB 1181 would affect the state’s three abortion clinics.

In 2016, Indiana was among the first states to pass fetal-remains laws. “Since then, at least 10 other states have enacted similar requirements, though legal challenges persist,” Kruei reported. 

HB 1181 is supported by Tennessee Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate: 

“Pro-abortion activists will oppose this legislation on the false pretense that it creates an obstacle for women, but in fact, their opposition comes from the refusal to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child and to thereby treat their bodies with dignity and respect.  Tennessee Right to Life supports the Unborn Child Dignity Act and is working for its passage, because, if passed, this law will enhance the dignity of human life that Tennesseans support.”

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