Women’s Health Groups Consider Filing Lawsuit To Oppose Texas’ Fetal Remains Rules

By Samantha Ketterer
The Dallas Morning News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Days after the Supreme Court struck down parts of a law that would have restricted abortion access in Texas, the state introduced rules that require health care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains, regardless of the period of gestation. Women’s health groups are working on a potential lawsuit opposing the rules. Any lawsuit would need to be filed by next week because the rules are set to take effect Dec. 19.

Austin, Texas

Health providers and abortion clinics have less than two weeks to figure out how to comply with Texas’ new fetal remains rules, that is, if a lawsuit doesn’t halt the process first.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of abortion provider Whole Woman’s Health, said she is working with the Center for Reproductive Rights on a potential lawsuit opposing the rules. Any lawsuit would need to be filed by next week because the rules are set to take effect Dec. 19.

“Here we are, with a situation where Texas is trying to restrict access to safe abortion care by any means necessary,” she said. “It’s really cruel.”

The rules have drawn controversy since their introduction in July. Days after the Supreme Court struck down parts of a law that would have restricted abortion access in Texas, the state introduced rules that require health care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains, regardless of the period of gestation.

The Texas Department of State Health Services’ rules, which were suggested under the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, were finalized after two public comment periods in which the state received more than 35,000 comments. The comments were nearly split between groups for and against the rules.

Abbott said the rules are meant to uphold the dignity of the unborn fetus instead of treating it as medical waste. Opponents claim the rules attempt to attribute “personhood” to a fetus and could be a deterrent, or limit access, for women seeking an abortion.

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