Texas officials are moving forward with new rules requiring that aborted babies’ bodies be treated with dignity by being cremated or buried.
The current rules from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission allow abortion facilities and medical clinics to dispose of aborted babies’ bodies along with other medical waste. The new rules would raise aborted babies’ bodies above the level of medical waste, and require facilities to either cremate or bury their tiny bodies. The rule also would apply to babies who are miscarried in health care facilities, but not to those miscarried at home.
In August, the Texas commission published the proposed rules for a 30-day comment period. This week, Breitbart reported the commission updated the rules with new information and republished them for another 30-day comment period.
The updated rules address complaints from abortion activists about the increased costs they would face to bury or cremate aborted babies’ bodies; some also threatened to sue the state if the rules go into effect.
According to the updated rules, the new costs would be similar to the current costs abortion facilities have to transport, store and dispose the aborted babies’ bodies.
“The proposed rules allow the disposition of remains together, thereby reducing costs to an amount estimated to be commensurate with current methods used for disposition,” according to the commission. “… private parties, have offered to bury fetal remains without charge. Other parties also offer discounted or free services associated with the disposition of fetal tissue. For these reasons, the department estimates no fiscal impact.”
John Seago, Legislative Director of Texas Right To Life, told LifeNews that the rules are strong attempt to restore the dignity to the victims of abortion. However, he noted that they are just one small step toward the ultimate goal of protecting unborn babies’ lives from abortion.
“Texas Right to Life is in favor of the proposed rules to clarify the manner in which abortion clinics handled the bodies of these victims of abortion,” Seago said. “However, Texas Right to Life strongly believes that the pro-life movement must go far beyond simply regulating the disposition and donation of these bodies after abortion. Texas must take positive steps to stop the horrific injustice of elective abortion instead of just regulating the aftermath.”
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Texas Right to Life is urging state lawmakers to protect unborn babies from the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion, a common second-trimester abortion procedure where unborn babies’ bodies are torn limb from limb. Six states already have passed dismemberment abortion bans, and a number of others are considering the protective measure.
“The pro-life movement, in Texas and across the country, must measure our success by lives saved, not regulations or rules passed,” Seago said.
The new burial rules are part of pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott’s L.I.F.E. Initiative, a four-point plan to increase life-affirming support, eliminate all taxpayer funding to abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and curb abortions in Texas.
Aborted babies’ bodies should not be “treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills.” Abbott said. “… it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”
During a commission hearing in August, supporters said the rule is necessary because abortion facilities treat unborn babies’ bodies like garbage and sometimes dump them down public sewer drains, Fox 7 reported. 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, during the hearing, 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.