A judge has blocked a new rule in Texas that would stop any possible sales of aborted babies’ body parts by requiring that abortion clinics give abroted babies a proper burial or cremation.
The New York-based pro-abortion group Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against the new rule on Monday, claiming it does not benefit the public and is unconstitutional.
The new rule, introduced in July by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, requires that abortion facilities, hospitals and other medical centers either cremate or bury the remains of aborted and miscarried babies. State officials said the rule does not apply to miscarriages or abortions that take place at home.
The commission finalized the rule in late November. It is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 19. However, the lawsuit seeks to stop the state from implementing it.
In an at-times testy court hearing Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks opted to grant a temporary restraining order against the new rules that were slated to kick in Monday, Dec. 19.
The new rules require that the remains from abortions and miscarriages be buried or cremated, regardless the length of gestation or the woman’s wishes. Currently, the remains are treated as other medical waste and incinerated, buried or disposed of in a sanitary landfill or ground up and washed down a sanitary sewer.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has said the rule was intended as a public health measure to help prevent the spread of disease.
The parties will return to court Jan. 3, and the judge expects to decide before Jan. 6 whether to let the rules go into effect.
One of the issues abortion activists claim creates an undue burden is the cost of cremating or burying the aborted babies.
However, Texas health department spokesperson Carrie Williams said their research indicates that the rule will not increase costs.
“While the methods described in the new rules may have a cost, that cost is expected to be offset by costs currently being spent by facilities on disposition for transportation, storage, incineration, steam disinfection and/or landfill disposal,” Williams said.
The pro-abortion group filed the lawsuit on behalf of several Texas abortion facilities, including Whole Woman’s Health, Brookside Women’s Health Center and Austin Women’s Health Center, Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, Reproductive Services and Dr. Lendol Davis.
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Whole Woman’s Health is the same abortion facility whose lawsuit succeeded in overturning Texas abortion facility regulations in June at the U.S. Supreme Court. The abortion groups claim the new rule is a “direct defiance” of the recent Supreme Court ruling, which said states cannot impose undue burdens on women’s access to abortion without legitimate health or safety reasons.
Serious concerns about the treatment of human remains are a key motive behind the new rules.
During a commission hearing in August, supporters said the rules are necessary because abortion facilities treat unborn babies’ bodies like garbage and sometimes dump them down public sewer drains, Fox 7 reported. Texas 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.
Currently, abortion facilities can dispose of aborted babies’ bodies in landfills or give them to research groups. Though it is illegal, there is a possibility that abortion facilities also could be selling them for a profit.
More states are moving to require dignified burials of aborted babies’ bodies after undercover videos revealed evidence that Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities may be selling aborted babies’ body parts. The Center for Medical Progress videos prompted a number of states and the U.S. House to open investigations into the matter.
In Ohio, the state attorney general’s investigation found that Planned Parenthood was “steam cooking” aborted babies’ bodies before dumping them in landfills. A state investigation in South Carolina also caught Planned Parenthood facilities illegally dumping aborted babies’ bodies in public landfills, and fined them for it.
In the past few weeks, abortion activists have been protesting the new Texas rule in dangerous and disgusting ways. A Satanist leader recently urged people to send semen-soaked socks and rags to pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott’s office to protest the new rule. A Texas abortion clinic worker named Ele Chupik also encouraged women to protest by sending bloody tampons to the governor.
Satanist Jex Blackmore warned abortion supporters that sending bodily fluids through the postal service “may get you in trouble, so do this at your own risk.”