Reproductive Rights Activists Are Mad as Hell Over This Creepy New Abortion Rule

The regulation could add $2,000 to the cost of the procedure in Texas.

strathroy/iStock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The Center for Reproductive Rights, a reproductive rights legal advocacy organization, has filed a lawsuit to stop a regulation in Texas that would require fetal remains to be buried or cremated from taking effect. The state’s Heath and Human Service Commission quietly proposed the rule last July, days after the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt struck down two requirements of HB2, a Texas law designed to drastically reduce access to abortion. The Texas law had already led to the closure of half the abortion clinics in the state. Pro-choice advocates say the new rule regarding fetal remains is meant to further limit women’s control over their reproductive lives.

“These insidious regulations are a new low in Texas’ long history of denying women the respect that they deserve to make their own decisions about their lives and their healthcare,” said Nancy Northup, the president of CRR, in a statement announcing the lawsuit. The rule is set to go into effect December 19, but opponents argue the requirement will add burdensome costs and logistical challenges to reproductive health care services, likely adding an additional $2,000 to the cost of an abortion, according to the Funeral Consumers’ Alliance of Texas. This would make accessing reproductive services prohibitively expensive for low-income women, many of whom have lost access to affordable birth control thanks to Texas cutting public funds from Planned Parenthood and other family-planning clinics.

?The parts of HB2 that had been struck down by the Supreme Court—the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges to local hospitals and that abortions be performed in surgical centers rather than clinics—were framed as efforts to protect women’s health. Proponents of the new measure have a different argument to justify the regulation. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has argued fetal remains shouldn’t be treated like medical waste and, according to a report by the Texas Tribune, has used this stance to raise campaign funds. ?”I believe it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life,” he wrote in the fundraising email. “This is why Texas will require clinics and hospitals to bury or cremate human and fetal remains.”

Texas lawmakers are expected to codify the regulation into law when they meet in January 2017. Northup argues the Supreme Court already ruled medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion unconstitutional. “The Center for Reproductive Rights will continue to fight for Texas women, and women across the nation, to ensure their rights are protected,” she promised.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate