Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’s restrictions on abortion clinics as unconstitutional, state policymakers have put forward a new plan to require burials or cremation for all aborted fetuses.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission proposal would apply regardless of the gestation period. Presently, clinics dispose of aborted fetuses as medical waste in landfills.
The commission published the proposed rules in the Texas Register July 1, beginning a 30-day public comment period. The rules would only apply to fetal tissue, and allow hospitals to continue to dispose of other medical waste in sanitary landfills.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, an abortion rights group, blasted the proposed rules in a statement last week.
“Enraged by the Supreme Court’s smack-down of Texas anti-choice lawmakers’ false reasons for pushing additional burdens to abortion access, our state’s decision makers couldn’t even go four days without coming up with a new tactic that puts an unnecessary regulation on abortion providers and increases the burdens and costs for people seeking abortion,” Executive Director Heather Busby said.
Governor Greg Abbott supports the policy change, his spokeswoman told the Chronicle. The governor wants legislators to enact the proposal into law when they return to Austin next year.
The rules may enjoy widespread support at the capitol, where Republicans control both chambers. After the Supreme Court in June struck down the Legislature’s new regulations for abortion clinics, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick pledged to examine other ways to curtail access to abortion in Texas.
The Supreme Court has explicitly declared abortion to be constitutional since 1973, and has reaffirmed that sentiment several times in the decades since.