Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Washington Post (November 29, 2016): After months of controversy, Texas will require aborted fetuses to be cremated or buried, by Samantha Schmidt:
On Monday, Texas officials finalized a new rule that prohibits the disposal of fetal remains as medical waste, requiring that the remains be buried or cremated. Like TRAP regulations, the new rule makes it more expensive and difficult for abortion providers to operate without addressing health concerns or creating a health benefit. However, unlike other TRAP regulations, the rule appears specifically designed to send a message about fetal life. After receiving extensive comments, Governor Greg Abbott approved the proposal with little notice stating that fetal remains should not be "treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills."
Like other regulations drafted to promote an ideological view, as originally drafted, the regulations did not address some of the practical difficulties of imposing cremation and burial requirements for fetal tissue. Texas officials received more than 35,000 comments since the regulations were proposed in early July. The final regulations do not apply to miscarriages and abortions that take place at home. They also do not require that death certificates be filed.
Opponents of the rule point out that cremating or burying fetal remans can cost several thousand dollars, which will increase the operating costs of hospitals and abortion providers. While some women may wish to bury a fetus following a miscarriage or abortion, it is problematic to force all women to do so.
Women who attended [a hearing on the regulations] in August provided testimonials with mixed responses and personal details. One woman said she felt a great deal of closure burying a fetus after she had a miscarriage. Another said she had an abortion after she was raped, and that if she had been forced to bury the fetus it would have “essentially been the state of Texas rubbing my face in my own rape.”
The Texas rule takes effect Dec. 19. The rule is likely to face legal challenge. An Indiana law that requires the burial or cremation of fetal tissue and prohibits abortions sought solely because of a fetal disability was preliminarily last June.