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Seaford backs off passing abortion ordinance after backlash

Seaford City Council held off on voting on an ordinance changing the city’s abortion procedures after some backlash.


Seaford is considering a new regulation (page 5) requiring either the cremation or burial of fetal remains after an abortion, as opposed to traditional medical practices.


But City Council tabled it after receiving a letter from the Delaware Attorney General asking for time to look into its legality under state law.


The city also received criticism and legal threats from abortion rights organizations, such as the ACLU, who say the ordinance would restrict access in the city.


“It makes it more complex for the patient, and then it also potentially passes a cost onto the clinic or the patient,” said Mike Brickner, executive director of the ACLU of Delaware. “And so it makes it a more difficult process and it could unduly burden a person’s right to get an abortion.”


Brickner adds the ordinance also tries to undermine state law by requiring minors under 16 to obtain parental consent for the procedure, something that’s explicitly not required in state law.


Brickner says the bill echoes other attempts by local governments nationwide to undermine state laws that protect the right to an abortion.


Seaford mayor David Genshaw says he’s committed to passing the ordinance if possible, and adds he’s received overwhelming support for it from the community.


“Our community was exceptionally supportive of pursuing handling aborted fetal remains in a dignified manner,” said Genshaw.


The ordinance is being discussed as a new Planned Parenthood opens in Seaford, which will provide abortions alongside other healthcare services.


Roman Battaglia is a corps member withReport for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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