Austin, Texas, Jul 8, 2016 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).
After the Supreme Court recently struck down the state’s abortion clinic restriction law, Texas governor Gregg Abbott plans to require aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated starting in September. The announcement comes just one week after the court overturned what was arguably the most restrictive legislation on abortion clinics in the nation.
In a 5-3 decision, SCOTUS ruled the law regulating the safety of abortion clinics put an undue burden on a women’s right to abortion. The law said abortionists must have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of medical emergency, and clinic buildings must meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers.
Abortion supporters argued that the laws were not essential for medical safety and were ultimately intended to shut clinics down. Now, Republican Governor Gregg Abbott is taking action. The Associated Press reported that Governor Abbott ordered state health officials to add the new abortion regulations. Spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said Abbott had been talking with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for months about the change, not waiting for lawmakers to write a bill.
A proposal of the commission’s rules, issued on July 1, listed what would be the state’s new regulations. Fetal tissue “regardless of the period of gestation” would need to be disposed of by cremation, burial, incineration followed by burial, or steam disinfection followed by burial. As of now, remains can be disposed of through incineration or disinfection and then discharged into a landfill, disposed of into sewer systems, or any other “approved alternate treatment process, provided that the process renders the item as unrecognizable, followed by deposition in a sanitary landfill.”
Matthews said Abbott hopes the Legislature will “enshrine” the rules into law next year even though state agencies in Texas do not need legislative approval to enact certain rules, according to the AP. The proposed rule is open to public comment for 30 days. After, hearings may be held and the final decision will be instituted in September.
Other states, such as Ohio, also require aborted fetuses to be disposed of in a “humane” manner, the AP noted. The state failed to define the word ‘humane’ and in June, paid Planned Parenthood more than $45,000 in legal bills due to accusations by the organization that the state changed the interpretation of the rule and unfairly targeted the organization.