Abortion supporters are attacking Texas again as the state considers a new rule requiring that aborted babies’ bodies be treated with dignity by being cremated or buried.
The state Health and Human Services Commission held a hearing on Thursday to listen to testimony from those supporting and opposing the proposal. Currently, the commission rules allow aborted babies’ bodies to be incinerated or ground and then disposed along with other medical waste. The new rules would raise aborted babies’ bodies above the level of medical waste, and require abortion facilities and hospitals to either cremate or bury them. The rule also would apply to babies who are miscarried.
Bryan Black, spokesman for the health commission, said previously the new rules will ensure that Texas law “maintains the highest standards of human dignity.”
However, abortion activists claim the proposal will reduce women’s access to abortion by increasing the cost of the procedure. A Texas funeral services group said the proposal could add about $2,000 in additional costs to an abortion.
“What the actual effect of these regulations would be would be to put a higher cost in the hands of patients who are seeking abortions,” Trisha Trigilio, a spokeswoman for the ACLU, told Texas Public Radio. “That’s really important. Cost really matters here.
“What we’re talking about here is access to healthcare. We’re talking about dignity for Texas women and we’re talking about a very serious issue where there could be ultimately life or death safety concerns because women just can’t get the medical that they need,” she continued.
KVUE reports more about the hearing on Thursday:
Gov. Greg Abbott introduced a proposed rule that would require the remains to be buried or cremated. The Department of State Health Services heard from 90 speakers, and say they’ve gotten 12,000 comments — all from people passionate about the proposal.
“These are all precious babies who have value and are worthy of a proper burial,” said a speaker who supports the burial rule.
“I believe this is being put into place to make those of us that are pro choice, that have had an abortion, feel shame about it and I refuse to feel shame about something that was a medical procedure,” said a speaker who opposes the burial rule.
Kelli Bland opposes the rule.
“As a human Texas woman I want to do with my body what I wish,” said Bland.
She said a burial should be a woman’s choice.
Fox 7 reports supporters said the rule is necessary because abortion facilities treat unborn babies’ bodies like garbage and sometimes dump them down public sewer drains. State Rep. Mark Keough mentioned a gruesome case in 2005 when a woman who worked near a Houston abortion facility saw tiny aborted babies’ limbs and other body parts in a parking lot when a sewer line broke.
However, a NARAL spokeswoman claimed the proposal is nothing more than an attempt to shame women who have abortions. A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman added that she was concerned about patients’ privacy and questioned whether the new rule would require death certificates for the aborted fetuses.
The new rule is subject to public comment, but it does not require legislative approval, according to the Dallas News. In Texas, some state agencies have “specific rule making authority” granted by the legislature.
More states are moving to require dignified treatment of aborted babies’ bodies after a series of undercover videos showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted baby body parts. The Center for Medical Progress videos prompted a number of states and the U.S. House to open investigations into the handling of aborted babies’ body parts.
In Ohio, the state attorney general’s investigation found that Planned Parenthood was “steam cooking” aborted babies’ bodies before dumping them in landfills. An investigation in South Carolina caught Planned Parenthood facilities illegally dumping aborted babies’ bodies in public landfills, and fined them for it.
As a result, legislation to require burial or cremation of aborted babies’ bodies have been introduced Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi and other states. Although Roe v. Wade prohibits states from banning abortions, pro-life advocates believe the aborted baby ought to at least be treated respectfully even if the abortion clinic treated the baby with disrespect before the abortion.