The Texas Department of State Health Services received hefty backlash after the first public hearing and the Women’s and Perinatal Health of the Texas Medical Association questioned the ambiguity of the proposed rules. The rules were edited and republished on September 30, and a second public hearing was held on November 9.
“We made certain changes to the rules along the way, including adding language to make clear that these rules don 't apply to miscarriages or abortions that occur at home, and adding language to clarify that birth or death certificate issuance is not required for proper disposition under the rules” said Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services.
The new rules ban the disposal of fetal remains in medical sanitary landfills and instead require all remains to be cremated or sanitized and then buried, regardless of the gestation period. The Department of State Health Services stated in the Texas Register that the justification for these new rules is to protect public health in a manner that is consonant with the State’s respect for the life and dignity of unborn children.
The rules have further implications than just current disposal procedures changing: they will have an impact on families, hospitals, abortion providers and funeral homes. The average cost of these new disposal procedures fluctuates between $1,000 and...
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...abortion to cut off access, increase prices and target a health service. These rules just take away choice and autonomy, they do not bring opportunity,” said Rosann Mariappuram, a member of the Jane’s Due Process organization.
Since state officials announced the rules will go into effect this month, more organizations have voiced their discomfort. The Satanic Temple argues that the state is violating their religious freedom by forcing them to practice fetal burials. On the other hand, Stephanie Toti, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, states that “politicians are inserting their personal beliefs into the health care decisions of Texas women.” Both organizations are pursuing legal action against the state in order to ensure that families and women can choose their religious practices and make their own decisions in regards to reproductive health.
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