Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants to shame women who have abortions.
In a move meant to penalize women and abortion providers the Republican governor of Texas ordered state health officials to add new abortion regulations that would require the burial or cremation of post abortion fetal tissue.
The new rules would require abortion providers to cremate or bury fetal remains regardless of the period of gestation, and would no longer allow abortion providers to dispose of fetal remains in sanitary landfills like all other medical waste.
Patients and abortion providers will have to bear the cost of cremations and burials.
The new rules specifically targets fetal tissue as a result of a clinical abortion, and makes no such demands on fetal tissue resulting from a miscarriage.
Commenting on the new rules, Ciara Matthews, a spokeswoman for Governor Abbott, said:
Governor Abbott believes human and fetal remains should not be treated like medical waste, and the proposed rule changes affirms the value and dignity of all life.
Governor Abbott’s statement makes it clear that the new rules have nothing to do with protecting public safety, and everything to do with pushing a radical anti-abortion agenda.
By requiring the burial or cremation of aborted fetuses Governor Abbott is adding an extra layer of red tape and expense to abortion providers and women who exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, while also insinuating the false claim that an aborted fetal tissue is somehow a person deserving of cremation or burial.
Raw Story reports abortion rights groups argue the regulations could help deter abortions in the socially conservative state. They would force providers to seek disposal through crematoriums or funeral homes, and those business could face a backlash if they are seen as being aligned with abortion providers
Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said:
This is another tactic that the extreme anti-abortion groups are employing in other states, so it’s not that surprising. What’s surprising is how sneaky they’ve tried to be with it by slipping it in a regulation instead of going through the democratic process. This is, obviously, a new low for Texas.
A federal judge has blocked similar fetal remain requirements in Indiana as part of a preliminary injunction against a sweeping anti-abortion law signed into law by Republican Governor Mike Pence.
With little notice and no announcement, the proposed rules were published in the Texas Register on July 1, triggering a 30-day public comment period. The final rules are expected to take effect in September.
(Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Allison Hughes, Health Facilities Rules Coordinator, Health Care Quality Section, Division of Regulatory Services, Department of State Health Services, Mail Code 2822, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347, (512) 834-6775 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify “Comments on special waste from health care-related facilities” in the subject line.)
Bottom line: Governor Abbott is a despicable religious extremist that wants to punish women who have abortions. His new rules have nothing to do with public safety, instead they are yet another attempt by religious conservatives to shame and humiliate women seeking an abortion.