A federal judge is temporarily stopping Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine from taking legal action against Planned Parenthood facilities in his state, after an investigation found the abortion business contracts to dispose of aborted babies by first “steam-cooking” them and then dumping them into landfills.
DeWine said such disposal methods violate the state’s law that requires “a fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner.”
“First steam-cooking fetuses and then disposing of them in a landfill is not humane,” he said. “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 the garbage and whatever else goes into a landfill.”
Imagine “life in a magical land where abortions and birth control are free and plentiful” This place exists. https://t.co/zdEYnLF0oT
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) December 13, 2015
Stephanie Knight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Ohio said DeWine’s allegation was “inflammatory and false,” according to WCPO Cincinnati. In its lawsuit against the state, Planned Parenthood argued DeWine’s claims were motivated by a desire to end abortion in Ohio.
In addition, Planned Parenthood claimed it handled the remains of aborted babies “respectfully and safely,” through a licensed medical removal company.
DeWine intended to file an injunction in state court to stop Planned Parenthood from continuing its disposal method for fetal remains, but the abortion provider filed a federal lawsuit on Sunday, accusing the state’s health director of changing the interpretation of the state’s disposal rule.
Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr. issued a temporary restraining order against the state on Monday, until January 11. The judge set a hearing date for January 4.
DeWine said the temporary block was largely procedural in nature, and that it “did not address the central issue of whether the disposal practices of Planned Parenthood were humane.”
“Planned Parenthood’s suit is an obvious ploy to deflect attention from their own lawbreaking by falsely accusing the Attorney General,” said Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, who also serves on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress. “But perhaps the larger question is if dumping the cooked remains of aborted babies in landfills is inhumane, shouldn’t we also consider the dismemberment deaths of these babies through suction or other procedures more inhumane?”
While DeWine’s investigation – launched after a series of videos by Center for Medical Progress exposing Planned Parenthood’s apparent practices of selling the body parts of aborted babies – found no evidence that Ohio Planned Parenthood facilities were selling fetal tissue, it did reveal that Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio contracted with Accu Medical Waste Services to dispose of aborted babies, as Cincinnati.com reports.
DeWine said Accu Medical places the bodies of the babies in an autoclave to kill bacteria with steam, and then dumps them into a Kentucky landfill, procedures that he believes do not qualify as a “humane manner” of disposal.
According to its website, Accu Medical states it “owns and operates an autoclave permitted to process 50 tons of medical waste per day. We are licensed to receive waste from the 48 Continental States.”
In a press release, DeWine stated the Planned Parenthood facility in Bedford Heights indicated it uses only one company for disposal of aborted fetuses. However, that company – Stericycle, according to Cincinnati.com – told investigators it does not accept fetal remains for disposal as a corporate policy, leaving the question open of how aborted babies are disposed of at that clinic.
Meanwhile, Ohio lawmakers are addressing the issue of humane disposal of aborted babies.
On Monday, legislation was introduced that would require hospitals, abortion facilities and other providers to dispose of aborted babies by burial or cremation.
State Rep. Barbara Sears (R) said the bill is not restricting a woman’s choice to have an abortion. “What we’re doing is saying there needs to be a respectful way once that’s occurred,” she said.
In a proposal that had been introduced in the state legislature prior to DeWine’s investigation report, women who choose an abortion would be asked to decide in writing whether their aborted baby should be buried or cremated. The abortion clinic would be responsible for the choice if a woman decided not to respond.
Abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said the legislation was meant to “shame women” who choose abortion.
“It is just the latest in the constantly changing, medically unnecessary legal hoops that abortion providers and their patients must jump through,” NARAL executive director Kellie Copeland said.
As Ohio state lawmakers continue to move forward with their legislation to ensure aborted babies are not discarded in places such as landfills, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said he would also be exploring “next steps at the federal level to ban this practice.”
Similarly, Gov. John Kasich, a 2016 GOP contender, said the results of the investigation “shows the need for further work with the Ohio General Assembly to reign in Planned Parenthood while continuing to ensure access to vital health care services for women.”