Texas to require burial of aborted fetal tissue

By Sophie Driscoll ’19, Opinions Editor

A new rule issued by the Texas state government seeks to restrict abortion rights.

Beginning Dec. 19, fetal remains from any abortion performed in a hospital or clinic in the state of Texas must be buried, entombed or cremated. Currently, fetal remains are disposed of in a sanitary landfill like other forms of biological medical waste.

The rule was proposed in July by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a notoriously conservative, anti-choice Republican. In a fundraising email advertising his anti-choice “LIFE Initiative,” Abbott expressed his goal of “giving rights to the unborn” and “turn the tides against” abortion. 

It should be noted that the rule has no medical benefit. Its only purpose is to deter women from exercising their right to choose whether or not to give birth by implying that exercising the right to an abortion is the equivalent of ending a person’s life. In reality, women who chose to terminate a pregnancy are not committing a moral wrong, and they should not be treated as though they are. Women do not make the decision to terminate a pregnancy lightly; the choice to do so is never easy. Undergoing an abortion often results in both mental and physical anguish, and it is wrong to add to the stress and shame that these patients are most likely already feeling.

In addition to stigmatizing Texans who receive abortions, the rule creates an unnecessary financial burden for health care facilities, who will now be held responsible for having the fetal remains cremated or buried. The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Association, which have opposed the rule, stated that this task can cost several thousands of dollars per case. This is not an effective use of money. Health care facilities should not be forced to waste money on measures that do not benefit patients.

It is extremely hypocritical that Republicans such as Abbott and the Texas state legislators who championed this bill are extremely vocal in expressing the belief that government should not infringe upon individual freedoms, but have urged issuance of a rule that infringes upon a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. Roe v. Wade (1973) established that women have the right to make their own personal medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion without interference from politicians. Therefore, the rule is unconstitutional and should be rescinded. If Republicans truly support small government, they should be fighting against government interference in the medical decisions of women.

We must eradicate the misogyny that is still so clearly prevalent in our nation and break down the barriers that prevent women from receiving the reproductive care they deserve.

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