A new Texas abortion law will change on December 19, requiring that all fetal tissue be cremated or buried. Under the current law, most aborted fetal tissue is disposed of in sanitary landfills or through the sewer system and is classified as medical waste, but that is all about to change. This change in the law comes with a lot of opposition from women’s rights advocates who believe the changes will make it much harder and more expensive for women to terminate a pregnancy.
In June, the Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling requiring clinics that performed abortions to have upgraded surgery facilities that most in the state of Texas do not have. Pro-choice advocates argued that the laws would make it much harder, if not impossible, for many low-income citizens to have access to abortion services because of the new law and argued that the whole purpose of passing it was to make it harder to terminate a pregnancy.
— Delly P. (@_Delly_P) November 30, 2016
In the same month that the previous abortion law was shot down by the Supreme Court, Texas Governor Greg Abbott proposed that fetal tissue should be disposed of differently and came up with another roadblock for the pro-choice crowd. Rather than requiring upgraded surgical equipment, a new law passed in November will require aborted fetuses to be disposed of differently. Rather than disposing of fetal tissue like any other medical waste, the new Texas abortion law requires fetal tissue to be either cremated or buried.
In August, those for and opposed to the then-proposed abortion legislation voiced their opinions, according to KVUE.
The executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, Joe Pojman, spoke in support of the legislation.
“The bodies of the victims of abortion should never be treated like medical waste. The law currently allow for some horrific things to happen, after an abortion the facility can take the remains of a baby and grind them and flush them down the city’s water and sewer system, that’s a horrendous thought.”
The new Texas abortion law, which was quietly slipped into legislation with very little opposition, is also under fire, as pro-choice advocates believe the new legislation has nothing to do with safety or sanitary disposal and instead claim that requiring funeral services post-abortion is just another way to prevent women from having them.
— Correct Dude (@CorrectDudeNews) November 30, 2016
Those who oppose the new law say it will again cause abortion services to become cost prohibitive due to the expense created by changing the way the fetal tissue is handled. Those who advocate for the law say that it shouldn’t change the cost of an abortion because the law states that the cost of burial services for the fetal tissue is the responsibility of the medical clinic and not the patient. However, when the expenses at those clinics rise, they pass them on to the patient by raising their prices.
There has been a huge outcry from the medical community in response to the new Texas abortion law that requires burial or cremation of fetal tissue. One of the biggest issues brought up by medical professionals is that the law requires that the new disposal rules are imposed for all fetal tissue, and it doesn’t matter how developed that tissue is or whether it is even recognizable as fetal tissue.
— Daniela Lapidous (@danielalapidous) November 30, 2016
So far, women who suffer miscarriages at home will not be required to dispose of the tissue in the same restrictive way as medical clinics. Additionally, even though changes are being made to the way fetal tissue is disposed of, women won’t be required to obtain birth or death certificates after an abortion, according to the Texas Tribune.
The new abortion legislation will very likely be challenged in court, much like the previous Texas abortion law that the Supreme Court struck down earlier in 2016. However, Republican lawmakers are already working to have the new legislation written into statute as soon as the Legislature reconvenes in January.
[Featured Image by Eric Gay/AP Images]