Indiana becomes first U.S. state to require 'funeral' for aborted fetuses in draconian new law

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Jenny Noyes

Pro-choice protesters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month.

Pro-choice protesters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month. Photo: Bill Clark

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed a controversial abortion bill that, among other things, requires a 'funeral' for fetal remains and would ban the procedure if it is sought because fetal anomalies or a disability such as Down syndrome have been detected.

Shortly before his deadline to act on the sweeping measure, Pence called the law "a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life," according to the Associated Press.

The law, which was passed by the legislature earlier this month, would make Indiana the second state in the nation, after North Dakota, to ban abortion in cases where a fetal anomaly is detected. It also would bar the procedure in instances where the decision is based on the sex or race of the fetus.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Mike Pence Photo: Bloomberg

And it could make Indiana the first state in the country to require that fetal remains be buried or cremated at the woman's expense, rather than treated as medical waste.

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Among the critics of the measure were several Republican women in the state House, who said they considered themselves "pro-life" but thought this bill went too far. Still, the signing of the law by Pence -- a staunch opponent of abortion who is in a tight race for reelection -- was fully expected.

Pence's Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, John Gregg, quickly reacted to the signing. "While I am personally pro-life, this legislation was not well thought out or properly vetted," he said in a statement. "If I was in the legislature I would have voted against it, and if I were governor today, I would have vetoed it."

Pro-choice Americans on social media are also reacting to the law - particularly the bizarre requirement for funeral services - with the sarcastic hashtag #AskDrPence.

Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has also come out against the law via Twitter.

with The Washington Post