The State of Texas is moving forward with the implementation of a rule that requires abortion providers to cremate or bury fetal remains, despite outcry from medical and reproductive rights advocates.
Starting Dec. 19, Texas will no longer allow hospitals, abortion clinics and other health care facilities to dispose fetal remains in sanitary landfills, reported The Texas Tribune. Rather, all fetal remains must be cremated or buried, regardless of what gestation point they were in.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas was a strong proponent of the bill and praised its implementation.
“I believe it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life,” Abbott wrote in an email to The Texas Tribune. “This is why Texas will require clinics and hospitals to bury or cremate human and fetal remains.”
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He added: “I don’t believe human and fetal remains should be treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills.”
Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, criticized the new rules as “a thinly veiled attempt to shame Texans who have abortions and make it harder for the doctors who provide them,” according to The New York Times.
“The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people’s private health care decisions,” Busby said, adding that the Texas Department of State Health Services "has failed to show any evidence this rule benefits public health or improves the safe practice of modern medicine.”
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the fetus burial rule was not medically justified and would “only increase barriers to reproductive care while deliberately shaming and stigmatizing Texas women.”