You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Medical facilities must bury or cremate fetal tissue


Medical facilities in Texas will be required to cremate or bury aborted and miscarried fetuses starting Dec. 19.

Since the policy was first proposed in July, the Texas Department of State Health Services held two public hearings and received 35,000 comments from abortion rights advocates and their opponents, who have argued that the policy would give fetuses the respect that they deserve.

READ: Public weighs in a second time on divisive fetal tissue disposal rule

Critics, however, said the rule is unconstitutional because it discourages women from getting an abortion. Opponents also said the rule retraumatizes women after a miscarriage, and that it doesn’t protect the public’s health.

“The addition of nonmedical ritual to current clinical practice only serves to further interfere with a patient’s autonomy and decision-making in their own medical care,” said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. “Instead of passing laws that further complicate a patient’s experience and force them to consider burial services, we should focus on making sure that patients are supported, respected, and empowered in their decision.”

Agency officials have argued that the rule will protect the public from communicable diseases.

Current rules allow fetal remains, as with other medical tissue, to be ground and discharged into a sewer system, incinerated or disinfected and then disposed of in a landfill.

The proposal is part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Life Initiative, meant to “protect the unborn and prevent the sale of baby body parts,” according to a statement on his website.

“These rules provide a comparable level of protection to public health, while eliminating disposition options that are clearly incompatible with the Legislature’s articulated objective of protecting the dignity of the unborn,” according to the agency’s justification for the new policy, published in the Texas Register on Monday.

GET THE DAY’S LATEST NEWS: Click here to sign up for our Afternoon Updates email

Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the state Health and Human Services Commission, said the agency tweaked the original proposal after feedback from the public. Women who miscarry at home are excluded from the disposal requirements, and birth and death certificates aren’t required for burial and cremation of a fetus.

The new fetal tissue rule would affect 236 small facilities, primarily abortion facilities and ambulatory centers, according to the state’s analysis.

The analysis said those facilities could incur some cost, “but that cost is expected to be off-set” by the money the facilities spend now on disposing of tissue.

Facilities could also save money by working with private entities that have offered to help cover burial fees, according to the analysis.

The rule wouldn’t need legislative approval as it is subject to the general authority of the state health agency to amend rules “as needed to keep them current,” Williams has said.

Still, state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, filed a bill this month that would require health care facilities, including abortion clinics, to ensure that all fetal remains are buried or cremated.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients

A Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney accused of having sex with several of his immigration clients has been disbarred, officials said. Court documents show the clients he targeted were "especially vulnerable." According to the court filing, attorney Chris Greene voluntarily surrendered his license after he agreed that he could not defend...
Man dies in FM 1431 crash in Lago Vista

LAGO VISTA Man dies in FM 1431 crash A man died in a crash Friday morning near Lago Vista, a Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said. Brian M. Young, 50, died after the crash around 7:40 a.m., spokeswoman Robbie Barrera said. The other driver, who survived the crash, told state troopers that he was pulling a trailer with his pickup truck down...
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody ‘arrests’ 4 Stormtroopers
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody ‘arrests’ 4 Stormtroopers

Newly sworn-in Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody isn’t playing games when it comes to protecting the people of Wilco. Chody, 46, posted a tweet from his official sheriff’s account Friday, saying he has four in custody after holding a few Stormtroopers at gunpoint in the Avery Ranch area for a promotion of “Star Wars: The Old...
Sex abuse victim in ex-state doctor Charles Fischer case seeks damages
Sex abuse victim in ex-state doctor Charles Fischer case seeks damages

Patients who testified in ex-state psychiatrist Charles Fischer’s criminal trial last fall said they weren’t seeking any monetary gain when they came forward with sexual abuse accusations against him. That narrative changed Monday when the main victim — whose 2011 outcry in connection to a 2003 assault sparked a flurry of allegations...
Lawmakers debate when to honor — and when to override — local regulations
Lawmakers debate when to honor — and when to override — local regulations

Local control, as any locally elected Texas lawmaker will tell you, is better than the Capitol pulling the strings. Government closer to the people surely must be better than a government farther from the people. Especially that faraway federal district squeezed in between Virginia and Maryland. Except when it isn’t, when a wise, liberty-loving...
More Stories