In a stunning decision, Texas has banned health care facilities such as hospitals and women's clinics from disposing of aborted fetuses and is requiring that the fetal remains be buried or cremated, despite fierce opposition from medical professionals and activists.
According to the Texas Tribune, the new rules will take effect Dec. 19. What's proving more controversial than the mandate that the fetus be buried or cremated is what constitutes a fetus. Texas has ruled that the gestational age of the fetus won't matter; if a woman learns that she is only weeks pregnant and decides to have an abortion, the fetal tissue will also have to be buried or cremated. Health care providers would be required to handle the burial arrangements. Texas lawmakers decided that miscarriages and at-home abortions do not have to meet the new burial requirements.
Parents would not be required to name the fetus or provide a death certificate, the Tribune reports.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who pushed for the burial requirements earlier this year, noted in a summer fundraising email that he doesn't want fetal remains "treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills."
Since the new rules were introduced, pro-choice activists have argued that creating the burial requirement would only create more fear for women who are already facing difficult decisions about their pregnancy. Medical professionals have argued that the new provisions create added cost that must be absorbed by the health care facility.
Read more at the Texas Tribune.