Lawsuit: Texas rule over fetal remains designed to shame women

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Pro-choice activists celebrate during a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2016, after the court struck down Texas’ widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics. The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get […]

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit in Austin to prevent the state from requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains.

The suit says the rule is designed to shame women who want an abortion and the doctors who provide them. The state plans to implement the new regulations starting on Dec. 19.

The center and other groups say the regulations serve no medical purpose. The rules would prohibit facilities from disposing of fetal remains as biological medical waste. Regardless of the state of gestation, the fetal tissues would be required to be buried or cremated under the rule.

About 35,000 public comments poured into the Texas Health and Human Services Commission about the rule change, and funeral home operators worry about burial and cremation costs. The rule was proposed in July by Governor Greg Abbott four days after the Supreme Court struck down anti-abortion measures that would have cut Texas abortion clinics down from more than 40 to 10.

Lawsuits this year blocked similar measures in Louisiana and Indiana, where the law was signed in March by governor and now Vice President-elect Mike Pence. State health officials claim the changes are a matter of public health.

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