This week Texas approved a law that would require health care facilities to bury or cremate aborted fetal matter, as opposed to disposing of it as medical waste.
Let's reiterate that to really emphasize the issue here: Texan women who want to get a safe and legal abortion will not only have to make the difficult decision to get the procedure done, but will have to face dramatic consequences to their tissue being removed, as it is essentially given a funeral.
Before the law was passed, fetuses were considered tissue (which they are) and once aborted were disposed of how all tissue was disposed of – in a sanitary landfill as medical waste. This law requires medical professionals to treat an aborted fetus not as medical waste, but as a deceased person, which, by definition, it is not.
These rules, which have also been passed in Louisiana and Indiana earlier this year, were initially proposed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbott said in a fundraising email in July that he submitted the rules to "reflect our respect for the sanctity of life." But his unsubtle motivation can be found in the same email as he says he wants to, "Turn the tides against the soulless abortion industry in Texas."
Abbott and his law have faced criticism since the bill's proposal in July, including from NARAL pro-choice Texas who said the rules “Serve no medical benefit and do nothing but impose an undue burden on Texans seeking abortion care.”
The new procedures will likely cost health care facilities thousands of dollars (cremation alone can cost up to $10,000), which could lead some facilities to stop offering abortions, or raise the price to have one done. That, along with the fact that abortions that occur "at home" are exempt from the required burial, will likely only encourage dangerous abortions performed by non-medical professionals.
“The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people’s private health care decisions,” said Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas in an interview with the New York Times. “Texas politicians have now responded with one of the most blatantly pointless and insulting restrictions yet.”
By creating these expensive hoops to jump through (which lead to other expensive hoops to jump through) politicians like Abbott aren't making abortions less likely, they're making safe abortions less likely.
Luckily the litigation is likely to be challenged in court. But until then, and until the rules go into effect on Dec. 19, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is urging Texans to write letters to media outlets and to contact the representatives to incite action against the law. You can find out more information on their website.
Photo via Pixabay
More From BUST