A 2016 Indiana law mandating the burial or cremation of fetal remains after an abortion could become a national model following the discovery of 2,246 medically preserved aborted fetuses at the Illinois home of a recently deceased Indiana abortion doctor.
U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., have filed legislation to require abortion providers nationwide treat aborted fetal remains the same as any dead body, rather than allowing them to continue being disposed of as medical waste.
Under their "Dignity for Aborted Children Act," an abortion doctor who fails to provide for the burial or cremation of an aborted fetus could face up to five years in prison.
"I will always fight to protect innocent life and ensure all children are treated with dignity," Young said. "The recent discovery of over 2,200 fetal remains in the home of an Indiana abortionist proves there is a deeply disturbing problem with our current system."
The fetal remains found in the Will County garage of Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who died Sept. 3, date from 2000 to 2002 when Klopfer performed abortions at clinics in Gary and other cities in northern Indiana.
It's not yet known why Klopfer stashed the remains in his garage. An investigation by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr., a Republican, is ongoing, and Hill has taken possession of the remains pending final disposition.
Braun said the discovery in Klopfer's garage "horrified" him, and "every American who respects the sanctity of life."
"All human remains, regardless of stage of life, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I'm proud to introduce the Dignity for Aborted Children Act to ensure that grotesque collections like Dr. Klopfer's can't be allowed to happen ever again," Braun said.
Indiana's law obligating abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains has been on hold since shortly after it was approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and enacted by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, now vice president of the United States.
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned two lower court decisions by ruling 7 to 2 that the statute passed constitutional muster, notwithstanding objections by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor that the requirement makes it more difficult and costly for a woman to exercise her constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability.
The burial or cremation mandate finally took effect in Indiana on Sept. 4, according to the State Department of Health.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion organization Susan B. Anthony List, praised the Hoosier senators' efforts to apply Indiana's fetal remains requirement throughout the country.
"While the Supreme Court has upheld Indiana's law requiring respectful treatment of the remains of aborted babies, Illinois and many other states have no such law," Dannenfelser said.
The proposal, Senate Bill 2950, is awaiting action by the Senate.