Lawmakers Approve Abortion Rule Change Regarding Handling of Fetal Tissue

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas lawmakers have determined that abortion facilities will not be responsible for the disposal of fetal remains if a woman completes a medication abortion outside the abortion facility.

Lawmakers approved the rule change Thursday after controversy arose over whether a new law would require providers to ensure the fetal tissue from medication abortions was disposed of in the same way as other human remains are disposed.

In a medication abortion, the first medication is taken inside the facility. The second medication to complete the abortion is typically taken at home, outside the control of the facility.

“It wasn’t clear under that act that an abortion facility would be responsible for tissue that might be expelled away from the facility,” Robert Bech, General Counsel for the Arkansas Department of Health, said.

The ACLU has sued over the law in federal court. Confusion over the responsibility of abortion providers is one of the points it raised in its challenge.

The bill’s sponsor said he did not oppose the rule approved Thursday because there would have been no way to enforce another option. It goes into effect August 1.

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