A Democratic Pennsylvania state legislator described early miscarriages as “just some mess on a napkin” during a meeting of the body’s health committee on Tuesday.
Rep. Wendy Ullman of Pennsylvania’s 143rd District made the controversial remark during a House Health Committee meeting on a bill outlining the responsibilities of health care facilities regarding babies who die in miscarriages, according to the nonprofit Pennsylvania Family Institute.
Ullman argued the bill was too broad, saying that its reference to “the product of conception after fertilization … covers an awful lot of territory.”
Watch Ullman’s comments below:
“I think we all understand the concept of the loss of a fetus, but we’re also talking about a woman who comes into a facility and is having cramps and — not to be concrete — an early miscarriage is just some mess on a napkin, and I’m not sure people would agree that this is something that we want to take to the point of ritual, either cremation or internment,” she added.
Republican Rep. Francis Ryan, who introduced the bill, told PennLive his legislation would offer families the opportunity for health care facilities to notify them about the option of providing funeral services for their unborn children.
“I think this is a significant bill that came to pass for those of us who have lost children and I’ve lost three,” he said.
“My bill does nothing more than give parents the option at their own expense to take care of the remains on their own.”
Tom Shaheen, the Pennsylvania Family Institute’s vice president for policy, blasted Ullman for her remarks on the bill.
“A miscarriage, no matter how early, does not result in a ‘mess on a napkin’ but the loss of a child,” Shaheen said in a statement released by the nonprofit.
“Each human life deserves respect, even when lost at an early stage in development.”
The organization said Ullman’s comment “devalues life and ignores the pain experienced by so many women and families in Pennsylvania.”
“Every Pennsylvanian should be appalled at such a heartless comment.”
Shaheen’s statements drew a sharp distinction between human bodies and waste to be disposed of.
“The remains of human beings should be treated better than medical waste,” he said.
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