Apparently if you have a miscarriage at home or you give yourself an abortion at home, you aren’t required to have a funeral for the fetus, but if you go to hospital to seek medical care for your body, you will be subjected to this new ruling. It doesn’t take a genius to imagine how this shaming will mean more women will opt out of proper medical care and will be put at risk because of this ruling. I wonder how many women were involved in this decision…
From The New York Times:
The rules, which go into effect on Dec. 19, mandate that aborted fetal tissue must be buried regardless of how long it has been gestating. The rules state it can either be buried directly after an abortion has been performed or it can be buried or scattered after it has been incinerated. Fetal remains can also be steam disinfected before burial, according to the guideline.
The rule was quietly proposed in July at the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, according to The Texas Tribune, shortly after the Supreme Court struck down parts of a Texas law that could have sharply cut the number of abortion clinics in the state, particularly those outside large urban areas.
According to the rules, aborted fetal tissue must be handled like a deceased person and treated “using the process of cremation, entombment, burial, or placement in a niche or by using the process of cremation followed by placement of the ashes in a niche, grave, or scattering of ashes as authorized by law.”
One concern — voiced by the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Association, among others — was if the proposal would require women who miscarried at home to transport their fetal remains to a health care facility to arrange for burial.
“We made certain changes to the rules along the way, including adding language to make clear that these rules don’t apply to miscarriages or abortions that occur at home, and adding language to clarify that birth or death certificate issuance is not required for proper disposition under the rules,” Ms. Williams said.
But abortion rights activists said the new rules added nothing to the safety and well-being of women undergoing an abortion procedure and amounted to an unnecessary intrusion into patient privacy.
The Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association expressed a similar concern in a letter sent last month to the Department of State Health Services, saying “these rules once again will present regulatory intrusion” into the “unique relationship” between doctors and patients.
Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, an abortion rights group, criticized “the addition of non-medical ritual” to a medical procedure and called the new rules “a thinly veiled attempt to shame Texans who have abortions and make it harder for the doctors who provide them.”
“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,” Ms. 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.”
Texas is not the first state to approve mandatory burial for fetal remains. Indiana and Louisiana passed similar measures this year but neither state has put the new rules into effect amid continuing legal challenges, said Gavin Broady of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed a lawsuit against the rules in Louisiana. Indiana’s law was signed by Gov. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect of the United States.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the Texas rule was not medically justified and would “only increase barriers to reproductive care while deliberately shaming and stigmatizing Texas women.”
“Just five months ago the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two Texas sham laws and declared that medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access are unconstitutional,” she said. “Texas politicians have now responded with one of the most blatantly pointless and insulting restrictions yet.”