An effort that would make it mandatory for all abortion providers to dispose of fetal tissue remains through either a burial or cremation service sparks heated testimony in Austin. Those on both sides of the issue testified before the Texas Department of State Health Services Commission on how it would impact Texas women.
In January, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mandate, requiring that the Department of State Health Services review its rules for disposing of all fetal tissue remains at a hospital and/or abortion facility.
Jennifer Simms is the associate commissioner for the Department of State Health Services.
“The rules were determined to be outdated including antiquated terms and outdated disposition methods,” Simms says.
Heather Buzbee is the executive director for the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, or NARAL Pro-choice Texas and spoke out against the proposed rules.
“For the majority of people like myself experiencing a first trimester abortion a funeral is not necessary, it’s not what the person wants. And to force that upon them against their will and force them to bear the expense of that will likely create a burden that makes abortion inaccessible,” Buzbee says.
Charity Farrar with the Life Choices Clinic in San Antonio says it’s essential that women seeking an abortion be fully informed, including what happens to fetal remains if a woman opts not to have a burial or cremation service that many abortion facilities and hospital already provide for an additional fee.
“If the women knew that would make their decision that much more bad for them, it would give them great anguish,” Farrar says.
State Health Commissioners are expected to approve the proposed rules and have them in place this September.