A.3740, Dinowitz / S.4278, Ranzenhofer: In relation to chemical digestion of human remains
Published on January 16th, 2018
Memorandum Requesting Amendment
The above-referenced bill seeks to amend the definition of “cremation” under the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law to include “any other technical process.”
The New York State Catholic Conference opposes the prospect that this bill under the amended definition would allow for a process known as alkaline hydrolysis.
The Catholic Conference understands that crematories across the state are constantly evolving to meet the needs of New York State residents and cemeteries are increasingly dealing with issues regarding burial space. We agree that allowing the cemetery board to authorize new cremation processes would be both more expedient and allow for the industry to help determine the value of regulatory proposals through the public comment rule-making process.
The Catholic Conference, however, is concerned that processes such as alkaline hydrolysis and potentially other processes involving an abundant use of chemicals to digest human remains do not sufficiently respect the dignity of the human body. The Church’s reverence for the sacredness of the human body and its dignity arises out of concern for both the body’s natural and supernatural properties. It is therefore essential that the body of a deceased person be treated with respect and reverence.
Therefore, if this bill does move forward, it is suggested that safeguards be added to prohibit processes such as alkaline hydrolysis from being considered during the rule making process. Such a prohibition would still allow crematories across the state to gain access to new innovations in the field while also ensuring the dignity of the deceased’s body is preserved.