CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

March 13, 2014

My Opinion: March 13, 2014

By NH State Representative L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND - This is the third time we had a House bill introduced to permit “resomation” in New Hampshire. This year it is HB-1577.

This type of burial preparation, in my opinion is an immoral, sickening, and just a wrong preparation to prepare our loved one for their final committal. This bill is coming to the House floor with a policy committee recommendation of OTP (pass). Below is my debate speech that I will be giving on the House floor opposing its passage.

“Thank you Madam Speaker,

“First, let me explain the “alkaline hydrolysis” process, which is just another name for “resomation”. So what is resomation?

“It’s an alkaline hydrolysis process for the disposal of human remains. The operator places the deceased body in a silk bag, to collect and contain the bones. This body bag is then placed in a stainless steel container, adding to it 15 gallons of water and lye. They close the container, turn the cooker on, and heat the water/lye solution to 320 deg. F, but at a high pressure, so the liquid only simmers, preventing boiling. The body is then simmered for at least 3 hours. Think here a minute, you are cooking your loved one.

“Madam Speaker, the end result of this process is a quantity of nearly 15 gallons of a greenish-brown liquid, similar to pea soup, which contains the body’s acids, peptides, sugars, salts, and etc. Please remember this ‘pea soup’ contains your family loved one’s brain, heart, lungs, eyes, ears, nose, lips, liver, kidneys, body meat, intestines, skin, body fats, and etc., yes, everything but the hard bones. Some of the chunks in this pea soup would be the un-dissolved: heart, kidneys, or scar tissue.

“In 2009, HB-589 used the European method of flush this pea soup down the drain. This bill failed. In 2013, HB-316 which passed the House, killed in the Senate, gave the family the opportunity to have the pea soup put in containers so they could take it home and spread it in their yards. Thank God that bill died.

“This bill HB-1577, as far as I can see, only mentions the pea soup in 325-B:3 (f) where it says, it can not be discharged into a septic system. But it has to be put into a holding tank that is periodically pumped and transported to a sewage treatment facility. Still going to the treatment pond to swim with the others there. Most NH towns don’t have sewage systems, making an extra cost to the facility and the family for a holding tank and transporting it to the sewage treatment facility.

“Some of the other problems I see with this bill include:

“1. The idea in both cremation and resomation is to reduce human remains to unidentifiable bone fragments. In both processes they are ground down by the exact same process. So, why in RSA 325-A are these pieces of bones called fragments, but now in RSA 325-B they are called powdering?

“2. In Definitions XIV, why the word “pouch”? According to Webster’s Dictionary a pouch is a small “pocket” or “packet” That’s not nearly the size needed to put a grown person in?

“3. In Definitions XX, in the case of resomation you have two different remains, you have the bone fragments and you have the 15 gallons of the pea soup. So then why isn’t the pea soup mentioned in Definitions, or really anywhere else?

“4. In RSA 325-B:18 I, doesn’t the 48 hour delay violate some religious practices?

“5. In RSA 325-B:19 III, facility refusing a leaking body. How about someone that was shot, stabbed, in an accident, burned, died on the operating table, or just have open wounds? What difference does it make, they’re going to be cooked anyway?

“6. In RSA 325-B:20 II, it talks about more than one body being cooked at the same time, but doesn’t mention anything about each body having to be in a separate bag. How about bone fragment identification after the process?

“7. In RSA 325-B:22 II (I), it says all materials not made entirely of wool or silk must be removed from the human remains prior to cooking. Are these exterior items only? How about a steel knee? Or a steel pin in a bone? Or a plate in the head? Do these have to be cut out first? If so, what happens to them? Do they give them to the family, to be placed on the fireplace mantel?

“8. In RSA 325-B:26 after residue is removed from the chamber, and any foreign matter or anything other than bone fragments shall be removed from such residue and shall be disposed of by the facility. So, they are draining out the chamber and all the liquid is gone, but pieces are left. Do you know what some of them pieces could be? How about an uncooked heart, or kidney, or scar tissue, or anything that the limited time they cooked the body, it didn’t get dissolved? So what happens to these pieces? Ooh, the facility just throws them in the trash. Really, that’s what the bill says? The last sentence in this paragraph says, ‘this paragraph shall not apply when there was commingling of remains during the cooking?’ Really don’t understand this at all. What difference would it make at this point’ it’s going in the trash anyway?

“In closing, I urge you to please say a pray before you vote, then vote red (no) on the OTP (ought to pass) so another motion can be made.”

(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net)