Texas Will Now Require Women to Bury or Cremate Abortion Remains

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, just signed into law a series of anti-abortion measures, including one requiring women in the state to bury or cremate fetal remains from their abortions.

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Abbott approved Senate Bill 8 on Tuesday. The law will also ban the donation of fetal tissue and punish those who help women access certain types of abortion procedures.

S.B. 8 forces women, who are already in the midst of a potentially traumatizing and invasive experience, to undergo extra steps to humanize their fetus. The hope, in the eyes of lawmakers, is that this regulation will make people more likely to reconsider their abortions and keep their fetuses, but I doubt that’s how it will pan out. People may leave the state to obtain the procedure, making everything even more complicated for them, or be forced to keep children they can’t properly care for, which can lead to its own problems down the line.

The new law fits right in with the Christian Right’s Bible-based outlook, but not with reality in a nation that’s supposed to have a separation of church and state. Or at least policies based on sound evidence. These laws suggest women can’t make decisions for themselves and need the government to steer them in a different direction. Furthermore, there’s no evidence this law will help anyone, and I’m not the only one who has noted that.

The new law comes less than a year after the Supreme Court ruled that Texas cannot enact abortion restrictions that place an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion. According to the Texas Observer, the law’s critics and some supporters agree that SB8 isn’t intended to advance women’s health, increasing the law’s chances of being challenged in court.

In addition to S.B. 8, Abbott wants to ban private insurance plans from covering abortion while also banning abortion providers from getting money from the government. Abortion may be legal in this country, but Texas is doing everything it can to throw more barriers in the path of women trying to get one. It’s worth noting that all these regulations are being imposed by Republicans, who claim to fight for individual liberty and less government intrusion.

This isn’t the first time Texas has tried to limit access to abortions, and it won’t be the last. This law and those rumored to soon follow are part of a distinct pattern of Texas politicians trying to effectively ban abortion. And what happens then? Historically speaking, back-alley abortion rates are likely to rise and the industry will go underground with less regulation than ever.

That’s what the “pro-life” side is working toward.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About David G. McAfee

David G. McAfee is a Religious Studies graduate, journalist, and author of Atheist Answers: Rational Responses to Religious Questions, The Book of Gods, The Belief Book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer, and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings. He is also the founder of The Party of Reason and Progress and a frequent contributor to American Atheist Magazine. McAfee, who writes about science, skepticism, and faith, attended University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.