Search form

Scroll To Top
News & Opinion

Texas to Require Women to Bury Aborted Fetuses


"The rules target physicians that provide abortions and the hospitals that care for patients for no reason other than to make it harder to get a safe, legal abortion in Texas," said Blake Rocap of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

After many months of opposition from abortion rights activists and the medical community, Texas has finalized their plan to require women to either bury or cremate their aborted fetuses.

The plans were finalized on Monday by health officials. The law prohibits hospitals, clinics, and any similar facility from disposing of fetal remains in sanitary landfills, no matter the gestation period. The Texas Tribune reported that these changes will take effect on December 19, according to state officials.

The Health and Human Services Commission has clarified that these rules do not apply to miscarriages or abortions that take place at home. It also does not require that birth and death certificates are filed in order to maintain confidentiality.

Since the rules were first proposed in July, over 35,000 complaints were filed by upset members of the public and medical community. According to the Texas Tribune, Governor Greg Abbott approved the plans with little notice, stating that he does not believe that fetal waste should be, "treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills."

Blake Rocap, the legislative counsel for advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said this of the new rules, according to Dallas Morning News:

"The rules target physicians that provide abortions and the hospitals that care for patients for no reason other than to make it harder to get a safe, legal abortion in Texas. It's so transparent that what they're really trying to do is denying access to abortion."

In October, the group rallied outside of the Department of State Health Services and delivered over 5,500 signatures in opposition to the proposal.

Other critics cite the financial implications of cremation and burial as their reason for opposition--but a department spokeswoman has said that this is of no concern.

"What we found through our research is that the proposed rules won't increase total costs for healthcare facilities," spokeswoman Carrie Williams told Dallas Morning News in an email. "While the methods described in the new rules may have a cost, that cost is expected to be offset by costs currently being spent by facilities on disposition for transportation, storage, incineration, steam disinfection and/or landfill disposal."

The new rules did not undergo legislative approval, as they fell under the rulemaking jurisdiction of the state health department. Still, Republican lawmakers have already filed to write the new rules into statutory law come January when the legislature reconvenes.

Currently, it is illegal in South Dakota to use aborted fetal tissue in research. Similarly, in Idaho and Alabama it is illegal to buy, sell, donate, or experiment on such remains.

Indiana also attempted to pass a similar law requiring women to bury or cremate their fetal remains, which was turned down by a judge who cited Supreme Court precedence in his defense of a woman's right to choose and their rights to privacy.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Natalie Whalen