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Texas Governor Stands Firm on State’s Fetus Burial Rule

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is holding to his guns on the new rules requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains. Opponents are threatening to challenge the rule in court.

The Texas Tribune reported that the Texas Governor said he thinks the remains of fetuses should not be “treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills.” He added, “it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”

Abbott vows that his “LIFE Initiative” will enact the changes that will make the Lone Star State “the strongest pro-life state in the nation.”

Changes to the rule which was proposed in July by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC) provided for the cremation or burial of the fetal remains. A 30-day period for public comment is required. Chief Press Officer of the THHSC, Carrie Williams, told Breitbart Texas that after reviewing the feedback and comments received during this period, the State republished the rules with more information and another 30-day comment period. A copy of the proposed rule with the changes highlighted, is provided below.

The potential costs are expected to be offset by costs currently being spent by facilities on disposition for transportation, storage, incineration, steam disinfection and/or landfill disposal according to sources at THHSC. It is important to note that the current rules, attached below, apply only to tissue generated by the healthcare facility. If a woman miscarries at home there is no requirement to carry the fetal tissue or blood products of a miscarriage to a doctor’s office or hospital.

The Texas Tribune reported in early August that lawyers for pro-abortion groups have threatened “costly litigation.”

In October 2015, after the revelation of the gruesome videos filmed at various Planned Parenthood facilities in the country, including Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston, Texas, the THHSC issued an order banning the abortion provider from participating in Medicaid programs, as reported by Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price.

In conjunction with the THHSC letter, Governor Abbott announced his LIFE Initiative program designed to provide even greater protections for children in the womb, as reported by Breitbart Texas. The initiative also aims at preventing the sale of baby body parts.

Part of Abbott’s initiative calls for new legislation to be enacted by the next session of the Texas legislature.

Abbott’s LIFE Initiative calls for the following:

Laws must be changed to (1) make it a felony under Texas law to perform a partial-birth abortion; and (2) make it illegal for abortion doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering the procedure to preserve fetal body parts.

Improve and expand the availability of adoption services; and increase awareness about Texas’ already best-in-the-nation child-support enforcement program, so that young mothers considering how to deal with pregnancy know the father will be held accountable to support his family.

Funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers out of taxpayer money must be eliminated completely, both at the State and local levels.

Eliminate and criminalize any sale or transaction of fetal tissue by an abortion clinic for any purpose whatsoever.

While Democrats have been strongly opposed and pro-abortion groups threaten legal action against the new rules, the moves by Governor Abbott and the THHSC have been widely praised by Republican elected officials and right-to-life organizations.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

Treatment and Disposition of Fetal Remains Preamble and Rule With Highlighted Changes

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