Texas Abortion Providers Will be Required to Bury or Cremate Aborted Babies, Abortionists React
The bodies of aborted children in Texas must be buried or cremated, according to a new rule adopted by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The rule, proposed by Gov. Greg Abbot in July, goes into effect on December 19th.
The rule essentially requires that the remains be treated like any other person’s remains, and prohibits their being disposed of in a landfill or by grinding up the bodies and discharging them into the sewer system. “I believe it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life,” Abbot said in an email.
Their bodies can no longer disposed of in the same way as what the New York Times called “other forms of biological medical waste.” The rules added provisions to the existing code, “that afford protection and dignity to the unborn consistent with the Legislature’s expression of its intent,” according to the preamble to the rules.
The new rules covers the bodies of children who miscarry in a hospital. It exempts parents who miscarry or abort children at home.
Abbot has also called for other changes in the law to protect the bodies of aborted children. In his 2016 Report to the People of Texas, Abbot had called for making “partial-birth abortion a felony in Texas” and also making it “illegal for doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering abortion procedures to preserve fetal body parts.” He added “we must criminalize any sale or transaction of fetal body parts or tissue in Texas by an abortion clinic for any purpose.”
The Abortion Reaction
The abortion industry reacted immediately. They are threatening to sue the state, claiming that the regulations restrict women’s right to abortion and that abortion providers will face extra costs.
“Texas politicians are at it again, inserting their personal beliefs into the health care decisions of Texas women,” Stephanie Toti, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement reported by Texas Tribune after the measures were proposed this past summer. “The Center for Reproductive Rights is prepared to take further legal action to ensure that Texas women can continue to access abortion and other reproductive health care without interference by politicians.”
The state’s health department says the opposite is true — that the costs associated with funerals will be offset by costs currently incurred by hospitals and clinics to transport, incinerate or otherwise dispose of an unborn baby’s body. Its spokeswoman said that the department’s research showed the cost will be “offset by costs currently being spent by facilities on disposition for transportation, storage, incineration, steam disinfection and/or landfill disposal.”
The pro-abortion Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association and the Healthcare Waste Institute of the National Waste and Recycling Association opposed the new rule. It has also been opposed by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Texas.
According to the New York Times, the head of the Texas branch of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas attacked what she called “the addition of non-medical ritual.” The new rules are “a thinly veiled attempt to shame Texans who have abortions and make it harder for the doctors who provide them,” she said.
The Pro-Life Response
Texas Right to Life Legislative Associate Emily Horne told The Stream that “we are appreciative of the new policy that provides dignity to pre-born children who have died. These laws give unborn children the same dignity that is already required of pre-born babies that die after 20 weeks. And, more is required because a death certificate is required after 20 weeks.”
Horne told The Stream that her organization will aim to “pass laws that will save some of these deaths from occurring in the first place” when the Texas legislature returns to session in January.
The new rule is “nothing revolutionary,” Horne said. “But you’re not hearing that. This law treats unborn babies with the dignity they deserve.”