A new regulation approved in Texas on Monday will require abortion providers to bear the cost of the burial of fetal remains. Another victory for anti-abortion lawmakers in the state, the new rule will take effect on December 19th. Texas joins three states, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Indiana, who have all passed similar legislation.
While a seeming victory for anti-abortion advocates in the state, the regulation appears to directly violate a Supreme Court decision from last summer, which ruled that state abortion restrictions must serve a public health purpose. Because Texas determined that the new regulation does not apply to women who miscarry at home, opposers of the bill claim the burial or cremation of fetal remains does not serve such a purpose. In the words of legislative counsel Blake Rocap, “This only affects how a licensed medical facility, like a hospital, disposes of this tissue…which of course makes it clear that there is no real public health interest in having this regulation.”
Though Texas legislators argue that instating the rule is motivated by a moral obligation to respect the dignity of the unborn, the rules place the financial burden on providers, which may in turn raise the cost of abortions and other services provided by clinics. This is a tactical win for anti-abortion lobbyists in the state, regardless of ethical justifications.
Civil rights lawyers in Texas are reviewing the regulation in order to determine if a lawsuit is justified. Similar lawsuits are pending in both Indiana and Louisiana.
h/t New York Times