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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, Family Research Council released a new pro-life map showing the strength of state laws protecting the human dignity of unborn children. These are known as “fetal dignity laws,” and our new map tracks five different types:
- Prohibiting the transfer of fetal tissue harvested from an unborn child during an abortion.
- Requiring the remains of aborted babies to be buried or cremated.
- Banning public funding for research with fetal tissue from aborted babies.
- Prohibiting the sale of or profit from aborted baby body parts.
- Providing death certificates for stillborn and miscarried babies.
According to research conducted by Family Research Council, 46 states have some type of fetal dignity law on the books, however the strength of these laws varies greatly. Twenty-six states have a law to provide death certificates for stillborn and miscarried babies, whereas 12 states have strong laws that protect fetal tissue from being used after an abortion. Florida is the only state with all five laws.
Only 13 states require that aborted fetal remains be buried or cremated: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. The lack of a fetal remains law in Illinois is what allowed Dr. Ulrich Klopfer to harbor the remains of thousands of unborn children. At the federal level, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act (H.R. 4934/S. 2590) would ensure that the remains of unborn children in all states are treated with dignity and respect.
Quena González, Director of State and Local Affairs at Family Research Council, remarked:
“Fortunately, many states have stepped forward to enact laws which recognize the inherent dignity of the unborn by reaffirming their basic humanity. All five types of laws tracked by our map are important to recognizing and protecting the dignity of unborn children.”
Katherine Beck Johnson, Research Fellow for Legal and Policy Studies at Family Research Council, added:
“Abortion is dehumanizing to both mothers and their unborn children. State fetal dignity laws use a variety of means to promote and protect the dignity of the unborn. The need for such laws is clear: Whether it’s abortionists like Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania and Dr. Ulrich Klopfer in Illinois (who were caught hoarding the remains of the babies they had aborted), or America’s foremost purveyor of abortion, Planned Parenthood (who was caught on tape in 2015 selling aborted baby body parts), the abortion industry’s horrific practices dehumanize and desensitize all of us.”
Connor Semelsberger, Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council, said:
“These laws are crucially important. At the federal level, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act would ensure that the humanity of the unborn is recognized nationwide through requirements to properly care for their remains.”
To see what protections your state provides for the dignity of the unborn, and to access our other pro-life maps, see our map, “Pro Life Laws in the States,” at www.frc.org/prolifemap/fetal-dignity-map.
For more information on the fetal dignity issue, see our issue analysis, “Respecting the Unborn through Fetal Dignity Laws,” at www.frc.org/fetaldignity.