Fetal Remains/Coercive Abortion Package Introduced in House
Legislation has been introduced in the House to affect the disposal of human fetal remains and appears to be on the fast track in the House of Representatives. Movement in the Senate, however, is unclear at this point.
House Bill (H.B.) 5711 introduced by Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City) amends the Public Health to do the following:
- Change the definition of “fetal death” to include stillbirth.
- “Fetal remains” is defined as a fetus having reached at least 8 weeks of gestation; does not include the umbilical cord or placenta.
- The definition of “final disposition” is changed to include “fetal remains”.
- “Miscarriage” is defined as a nonviable fetus that is under 20 gestational weeks.
- Requires fetal remains be disposed “of by means lawful for other dead bodies, including burial, cremation, or interment…”
- Creates felony penalties for violations of not more than 3 years imprisonment or not more than $5000, or both
- Adds fetal remains and fetal remains resulting from a miscarriage to section 2848, guidelines for final disposition.
- Creates state civil infraction penalties for failing to dispose of fetal remains from an abortion and failure to obtain proper authorization for final disposition of a dead body of not more than $1000 per violation.
- Allows a person suffering injury or damage as a result of a person committing the above infractions, to bring a civil suit against that person for damages including “emotional distress or other appropriate relief”.
- “Products of conception” is defined to include “any tissues or fluids, placenta, umbilical cord, or other uterine contents resulting from a pregnancy”, however does not include a fetus or fetal body parts.
The bill also provides details for measures to be implemented to: screen and prevent coercive abortions, prevent abortions from being prescribed or conducted by a physician remotely using a web camera, increases liability coverage for physicians performing more than five abortions a month, requires facilities or offices that publicly advertise outpatient abortion services and perform more than 6 a month to be licensed as a freestanding surgical outpatient facility.
The bill was referred to the House Health Policy Committee May 31 and subsequently voted out June 7. Passage from the full House of Representatives is expected this week prior to the Legislative summer recess.