THE STATE OF TEXAS – Since June of this year, the state of Texas has been entangled in a heated debate following the Department of State Health Service and Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement that a new law would be implemented requiring all medical facilities that perform abortions to either cremate or bury the remains of aborted and miscarried babies, regardless of the period of gestation. After much protest from reproductive rights activists in Texas, the nation and beyond, the Center for Reproductive Rights is suing the state to prevent the law from going into effect.
This controversial new law was quietly proposed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in June of this year. The law was conceived in an effort to regulate abortion, the Texas Tribune reported. In a public statement, health commission spokesman Bryan Black said, "The Health and Human Services Commission developed new rules to ensure Texas has maintained the highest standards of human dignity."
The proposed rules were published in the Texas Register on July 1, allowing a 30-day public comment period before being finalized. After much debate and an upswing in public comments, the Department of State Health Services resubmitted several updated rules within the law, as well as an analysis of the latter’s financial impact; people had an additional month to submit opinions.
In a Dallas Morning News article dated October 26, Blake Rocap, legislative counsel for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, argued that "the rules target physicians that provide abortions and the hospitals that care for patients for no reason other than to make it harder to get a safe [and] legal abortion in Texas." He added, "It is so transparent that what they're really trying to do is deny access to abortion.”