[CONTENT NOTE: graphic descriptions of fetal remains and menstrual blood; no images.]
Texas Officials to Force Burial, Cremation of ‘Fetal Remains’
Texas health officials on Monday filed the final version of proposed rules requiring the remains of aborted or miscarried fetuses to be buried or cremated, despite criticism from funeral homes, abortion providers, and reproductive rights advocates.
The regulations will apply to all fetal remains, regardless of the period of gestation when the miscarriage or abortion occurred.
Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in a statement that DSHS “ignored the concerns of the medical community.” By implementing the new restrictions, Busby said, the agency is “playing politics” with Texans’ private healthcare decisions.
“DSHS has failed to show any evidence this rule benefits public health or improves the safe practice of modern medicine,” Busby said. “This rule is a thinly-veiled attempt to shame Texans who have abortions and make it harder for the doctors who provide them.”
The Republican-backed rule could add $2,000 to the cost of abortion care, according to the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Texas.
Now I am sure these wise Texas health officials are fully aware that an estimated half of all fertilized eggs spontaneously abort at some point—although that number could be as high as 80%. No one really knows for sure because, oddly enough, we don’t collect our pads, tampons, menstrual cups, stained underwear and bloody toilet water and ship them to a lab for analysis every month. (Wait. I probably shouldn’t have said that. No point giving conservatives any more bizarre ideas to enact into law.) Also according to Texas health officials, Texas citizens collectively have approximately 400,000 live births per year. Taking the low estimate, the new law means that Texans will need to hold 400,000 additional funerals every year.
Which prompts the question: where are they going to put all these tombs and urns containing fetal remains? I mean, Texas is huge and all, but eventually it’s going to get a little tight, don’t you think? And of course the nightmarish cemetery overcrowding will only be compounded by the skyrocketing maternal mortality rates in Texas.
Well, I have a helpful suggestion. Perhaps we could start by burying these fetal remains on the properties of Texas health officials. While we’re at it, we can fling our used tampons on their lawns and demand that they hold the funerals themselves. Who could possibly argue with that?
Anyway. The blood clot funeral requirement takes effect December 19—just in time for the holidays. What could be better than funerals?! More funerals! Funerals everywhere! Happy New Year!
The Center for Reproductive Rights intends to challenge the law in court.
David Brown, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the rule is unconstitutional and seeks to restrict access to abortion care by increasing both the cost of the procedure and the stigma of abortion care and pregnancy loss.
“These new restrictions reveal the callous indifference that Texas politicians have toward women,” Brown said.
It’s not “callous indifference,” Mr. Brown. It’s sadistic misogyny. Frankly, I’d prefer callous indifference. As in, leaving us the fuck alone.