“It’s not fetal tissue, it’s dismembered children,” said Rep. Robin Smith, according to AP News.
If passed, HB 1181 would require medical providers to either bury or cremate the remains of a baby who has been aborted. According to the Memphis Flyer, the bill’s House sponsor Rep. Tim Rudd (R) stated that the average burial will cost about $150 and cremation services will cost $350.
Under the measure, pregnant women would have the right to choose either form of burial as well as select the location, but may choose not to exercise that right. If a woman requests an alternative burial method, she would be required to cover the costs herself.
Rudd said that while no state funds have been set aside for these costs, many funeral homes and charities have offered to cover these services free of charge.
Rep. London Lamar (D), who opposes the bill, called it “one of the most offensive pieces of legislation I’ve heard this year,” according to the Memphis Flyer.
“You are forcing women who have potentially been raped and forcing them to bury or cremate that,” Lamar said.
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However, Rudd argued that the bill does “not restrict abortion or have anything to do with abortion; this is post-abortion,” the Memphis Flyer reported.
“The way this is now handled — with the [remains] either thrown in the trash or flushed in the toilet — it is appalling,” said Rudd. “Pets and farms animals are treated with more dignity [in state law] but there’s nothing about the dignity of an unborn child.”
The Tennessee Right to Life group has expressed support for the measure.