November 29, 2022

Indiana medical facilities must bury or cremate fetal remains, appeals court rules

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Indiana passed a law in 2016 that required medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains. Prior to that, they were disposed of as medical waste. - WFIU/WTIU

Indiana passed a law in 2016 that required medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains. Prior to that, they were disposed of as medical waste.

WFIU/WTIU

After six years, it appears Indiana is finally able to force medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains.

Indiana passed a law in 2016 that required medical facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains. Prior to that, they were disposed of as medical waste.

Federal courts halted that provision before it took effect. But eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional. The legislature followed up in 2020 by creating procedural rules facilities must follow for burial and cremation of fetal remains.

Then, a second lawsuit. A group of anonymous Hoosier women said they don’t believe the fetus is the same as a person – and therefore, its remains shouldn’t be treated the same.

READ MORE: Indiana can't require burial or cremation of fetal remains, rules federal judge

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A federal judge agreed, halting the law again. But now, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, putting the requirements into effect.

A three-judge panel ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court already OK'd the fetal remains provisions, and that the women’s individual beliefs were not violated because the requirements applied only to the medical facilities.

That decision could be appealed.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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