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Wait, What? Did Mike Pence Really Sign a Law Requiring Funerals for Fetuses?

If you’re watching the 2016 Democratic National Convention on one of the cable news networks, chances are you’re missing some interesting stuff. For example, you’d have missed Connecticut Governor  and early Hillary Clinton endorser Dannell Malloy rip into Republican nominee Donald Trump and Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Nestled in among the familiar litany about Pence’s record as governor was one claim that made me do a double-take because it sounds so insane:

He signed a law that would have forced women to hold funerals for fetuses, even, in some cases, after a miscarriage.

Wait, what? That can’t possibly be true, can it?

Well, the answer is that Malloy is mostly right, Pence did sign a law that requires fetuses to be “cremated or interred,” so it would be accurate to say that the law requires funerary services for any aborted or miscarried fetus “irrespective of gestational age or duration of pregnancy.”

But the law also states that the health care facility that has “possession” of the fetus is responsible for the burial or cremation, and the parents are only liable for costs associated with the burial  or cremation if they choose a location and method other than what the facility normally uses. Also, the law says that fetuses younger than 20 weeks can be cremated in bunches, and the law also specifies that you don’t have to name your miscarried or aborted fetus. They’re not monsters, after all.

So the law didn’t require a “funeral” in the crying-and-wearing-black-and-bringing-a-casserole sense of the word, and the hospital can take care of things for the patient, but the rest is all true. Who knew?

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