Texas’ fetal burial law temporarily blocked by judge
Texas is always on the frontline of dangerously restrictive abortion laws, so it came as no surprise that the state tried to make it legally necessary for clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains from abortions. The mandate was supposed to go into effect in just a few days, but thanks to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Texas’ fetal burial law was temporarily blocked by a judge for at least a month.
The proposed legislation is offensive in SO MANY WAYS. There’s the cost of burial or cremation that would be passed onto women, which is yet another undue burden. Clinics without the resources to make special arrangements for fetal tissue would have to close. And the idea that anyone would pretend that the tissue from a first trimester abortion is akin to a dead human being that should be buried or cremated is dark beyond words. It’s weird that someone even thought of the law in the first place.
On the upside, Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission said the law wouldn’t apply to miscarriages or medical abortions women perform at home, so Texas women wouldn’t have to go dig a hole in the backyard for their menstrual blood. This exception reveals the lawmakers’ true motives, because if they really believed fetal remains deserved a burial, wouldn’t all fetal tissue deserve a burial? Alas, there will be no fetus funerals for now.
According to Texas lawmakers, this whole fetal burial issue is about “respecting life.” Attorney General Ken Paxton’s spokesman, Marc Rylander (yes, men named Ken and who spell Mark with a “c” are what we’re working with here), told The Statesman, “All human beings deserve to be treated with respect after death. To that end, Texas will continue to defend the safety and dignity of the unborn up to and as far as Supreme Court precedent will allow.”
Marc with a “c” added, “These new rules simply provide for the humane disposal of fetal tissue instead of sending it to landfills like unwanted trash, as is the abortion industry’s current practice. They do not, in any way, interfere with a woman’s access to abortion.”
There is no logical reasoning behind this law except to make abortion more expensive and more difficult than it already is, and to further instill a sense of shame and wrongdoing in the minds of women who get abortions. Then again, this is an attorney general who spends his time upholding a “Merry Christmas Bill” that forces public places like schools to put up Christian messaging around the holidays, so this guy is a pretty cool tool all around.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ordered two days of testimony on the matter and stopped the law from going into effect next week — so maybe even he sees how terribly stupid it is. More likely, he’s just scared this will go all the way to the Supreme Court, like Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt regarding wasteful TRAP laws in Texas. Fetal burial laws didn’t get very far in Indiana and Louisiana, either. Because they have no basis in what’s good for women, who, by the way, are human beings and citizens of this country whose rights are supposed to be the priority of any law.