Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court aimed at protecting access to safe and legal abortions for women in Ohio, according to a statement released Sunday by the organization.
Planned Parenthood alleges Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine made “inflammatory and false allegations” on Friday about the organization improperly handling fetal tissue.
“Planned Parenthood handles medical tissue just like other health care providers do, said Jerry Lawson, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio in a written statement. “We work with licensed medical removal companies to handle fetal tissue respectfully and safely. It’s clear from the Attorney General’s press conference that we’ve acted properly and legally, and this is just part of his longstanding political agenda to ban abortion in all cases. We won’t let that happen.”
On Friday, DeWine said his office found no indication Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio are selling fetal tissue, but the investigation did reveal that aborted fetuses were disposed in landfills.
DeWine said he has referred his findings to the Ohio Department of Health for further action.
“The reality is that we handle medical tissue just like other health care providers do, and we always have,” said Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, in a written statement. “We’re inspected regularly to ensure that we’re handling fetal tissue properly and legally. Politicians in Ohio will stop at nothing to ban abortion in all cases in our state. Today, we’re asking a federal court to prevent the state from this plainly political attempt to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion.”
The OAG investigation focused on three facilities: Bedford Heights, Cincinnati and Columbus. DeWine launched the investigation to determine whether the facilities were selling fetal tissue, or abortion trafficking, in violation of Ohio law.
While the investigation did not find that fetal tissue was sold by any of the Planned Parenthood affiliates, the disposal methods used violate Ohio Administrative Code 3701-47-05, adopted in 1975, which requires that a “fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner,” DeWine said.
According to his findings, all three affiliates sent fetal remains to companies that disposed of the fetuses in landfills.
“Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane,” DeWine said. “It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”