CINCINNATI — Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Sunday to “protect abortion access” in Ohio following Attorney General Mike DeWine’s report that facilities in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland improperly disposed of fetal remains.

DeWine announced Friday that a four-month investigation of the three facilities found aborted fetuses from Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio in Mount Auburn and the Columbus clinic contracted with a company that heats the tissue to kill bacteria and disposes of the remains in a Kentucky landfill.

“Politicians in Ohio will stop at nothing to ban abortion in all cases in our state,” said Stephanie Knight, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. “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 Ohio Department of Health and DeWine’s office are working to file a court injunction “to restrict Planned Parenthood activities where violations of law have occurred,” Rick Hodges, director of the Ohio Department of Health, previously said in a statement.

The federal lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood claims DeWine’s allegations are false and inflammatory, motivated by politics with the intent to ban abortion in Ohio. The organization uses licensed medical removal companies to dispose of the fetal tissue in accordance with Ohio law, officials state in a release.

Planned Parenthood health centers comply with all laws and regulations that require safe and respectful fetal tissue disposal and has never been cited by Ohio for violation, the organization said.

“The reality is that we handle medical tissue just like other health care providers do, and we always have,” Knight said. “We’re inspected regularly to ensure that we’re handling fetal tissue properly and legally.”

It’s not clear if the clinics broke any Ohio laws concerning the disposal of fetal remains. Ohio Administrative Code states “a fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner,” but does not further define humane disposal and no penalties or violations are listed.

“Planned Parenthood handles medical tissue just like other health care providers do,” said Jerry Lawson, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. “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.”

Follow Rebecca Butts on Twitter: @Rebelee_92

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