Texas Health Department officials passed a new law this week requiring that fetal tissue be buried or cremated.
This law does not discriminate in regards to the stage of development; it will apply to all fetal tissue.
The new regulation will go into effect on December 19. The regulation could increase the cost of abortions as much as four times for the service providers. Advocates and service providers fear that these costs will be put on the patients, though.
“These rules requiring burial or cremation of fetal and embryonic tissue will not only further stigmatize abortion care patients, but they will undoubtedly increase costs by potentially thousands of dollars, further burdening low-income Texans who already need financial assistance to be able to access abortion care,” said Amanda Williams, executive director of the Lilith Fun, in a statement.
The regulation does not appear to add any clear public health or safety benefits. While other states do allow this option, it is not required like it now will be in Texas, as opposed to any other normal practice of sanitary disposal.
Texas will be the first state to successfully require this method. Other states have pushed for similar regulations but have been unsuccessful.
“These new restrictions reveal the callous indifference that Texas politicians have towards women,” David Brown, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights said.
“Forcing a woman to pay for a burial after she ends a pregnancy or experiences a miscarriage is not just absurd – it is an unnecessary burden and an intrusion on her personal beliefs,” said Brown.
The Texas Health Department did provide some clarification regarding the regulation.
This will not apply to miscarriages or abortions that happen at home, according to the health department officials. The regulation will only apply to hospitals, abortion clinics and other health care facilities, but not to the individual women.
This type of law is usually referred to as “funerals for fetuses.” Women are not required to attend or host a funeral or memorial service, but they are required to pay for the cremation or burial, which are normally optional.
This type of regulation has become a trend in some states. This was sparked after a claim made by state Attorney General Mike DeWine stating that Planned Parenthood improperly disposed of fetuses in landfills. Although this claim had no supporting proof, it sparked a new trend of regulations against this.