Apr 21, 2011 10:47 PM by Maddie Garrett

Proposed law requires burial/cremation of 8 week old fetuses

A new controversial State bill is on the table this year that deals with the proper burial of dead or unborn fetuses.

Representative Rickey Hardy (D-Lafayette) knows his new bill -- House Bill 379 -- could stir the pot in the State's legislature.

"Is it controversial? It is but somebody got to do it," said Hardy.

His proposed bill requires a fetus must be buried or cremated if it dies after at least eight weeks of gestation or has recognizable head, torso, arms, legs backbone or cartilage.

"Whether it is through a miscarriage, through abortion, you should still give that person a decent burial, that's the decent thing to do," said Hardy.

After eight weeks of pregnancy the fetus is no bigger than the size of kidney bean. Nerve cells are beginning to branch out in the brain, the tail is almost completely gone and the fetus now has webbed fingers and toes.

"Then you can really see the development, that's two months," said Hardy.

Hardy hopes HB 379 would discourage women from getting abortions. Under the bill a physician would have to notify a woman receiving an abortion about the law to have the fetus cremated or buried.

"It would certainly deter folks from going and having an abortion when in fact they think about the consequences," said Hardy.

But if a woman doesn't want to pay for a cremation or burial, or is unable to, she could sign the remains over to a hospital or clinic to make the proper arrangements. Hardy said either way, it would prevent a fetus from being treated like medical waste.

"At the end of the day we as human beings would not want to be placed in an incinerator or a dumpster," he said.

Hardy's HB 379 will go to a committee for review this legislative session.

KATC did reach out to area doctors and clinics about the issue, but none were willing to go on the record to comment.



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