Effective December 19, when H.B. 2 goes into effect, clinics which perform abortions will be required to bury or cremate the fetal remains, rather than disposing of unborn babies’ bodies in landfills. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which supported the bill, had argued that disposing of the fetal remains in a dignified manner would result in “enhanced protection of the health and safety of the public.”
The rule will apply only to medical clinics and not to women who suffer miscarriage or who have at-home abortions.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a pro-life Republican, agrees with the new policy. Abbott doesn’t believe fetal remains should be “treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills.”
But there’s been an outcry from the usual suspects, opposing the new and respectful burial policy. According to the Texas Tribune,
“But the new requirement prompted outrage from the reproductive rights community, which accused state leaders of pushing unnecessary regulations. Women who experienced miscarriages or lost children in utero questioned why the state would make their situations more difficult by enacting the requirements. And medical providers — including the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Association — had also raised concerns about who would bear the costs associated with cremation or burial — a figure that can reach several thousand dollars in each case.”
But the “Most Ironic Comment” Award goes to David Brown, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, who said:
“These new restrictions reveal the callous indifference that Texas politicians have toward women.”
The Texas health agency drafted the new rules through the agency’s “rulemaking authority”; but the Texas Tribune reports that Republican lawmakers have already drafted legislation, and plan to formalize the policy in law when the State Legislature reconvenes in January.