AUSTIN, Texas — A new regulation in Texas will take effect on December 19 which requires the burial or cremation of fetal remains.
As reported by Breitbart Texas in late September, changes to a state agency rule was proposed in July by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC) which provided for the cremation or burial of fetal remains.
A 30-day period for public comment was required, and after reviewing the feedback and comments received during this period, the State republished the rules with more information and another 30-day comment period. According to Carrie Williams, chief press officer for HHSC, approximately 35,000 comments were reviewed overall.
The regulation, which goes into effect in less than a week, has been provided below: a copy of the adoption preamble and adopted rule text, as well as a document that shows the changes since proposed and published for comment.
Pro-abortion opponents to the rule are threatening to challenge it in court.
According to Williams, the rules apply to miscarriages and abortions that occur in health care facilities, not occurrences that happen outside of a regulated health care facility such as a miscarriage at home.
Moreover, as it relates to cost, Williams told Breitbart Texas there is no requirement that these processes go through funeral homes, and they do not have a mandatory role, and funerals are not required by these rules. Patients who have lost these children are not obligated to participate in the burial or disposition.
The new law changes existing law to remove allowance for deposing the fetal remains in a “sanitary landfill,” or “grinding and discharging [them] to a sanitary sewer system,” Williams confirmed.
Incineration is still available as an option, she says, and providers can work directly with other entities, such as crematoriums or medical waste companies or each other, to comply with the rules.
The rules were not amended to relate to tissue donation Williams said, the Texas rules do not speak to that and donation is outside the agency’s regulatory scope.
Catholic cemeteries are working with the Catholic bishops in Texas to help provide a burial for those that have been aborted.
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB) released a statement on Monday which says, “Catholic cemeteries are stepping forward, working with the Catholic bishops in Texas, in response to ongoing efforts to provide a proper burial for children lost to abortion.”
As reported by Breitbart Texas and the Texas Tribune, Texas Governor Abbott says he thinks the remains of fetuses should not be “treated like medical waste and disposed of in landfills.” Abbott believes “it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops says that “Many hospitals already cooperate with families, funeral homes, and cemeteries to provide a proper burial for children who die in utero. Catholic cemeteries in many (arch)dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of San Antonio, have provided these burials for years.”
The TCCB says they will continue to work with Catholic cemeteries and funeral homes to provide the same service throughout the state to children who die by abortion. They will provide the service at no charge.
“To bury the dead is a work of mercy,” TCCB Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon explained. “As Pope Francis reminds us, the victims of our ‘throwaway culture’ are ‘the weakest and most fragile human beings.’ It is right and just for us to be assisting the victims of abortion.”
The TCCB says that Catholic cemeteries estimate that their costs will range from $1,500 to $13,000 annually.
There are more than 50 Catholic cemeteries in the state and the TCCB hopes to collaborate with other cemeteries, funeral homes, and mortuaries they said.
According to DSHS statistics for 2013, approximately 62,000 pregnancies were terminated by “induction” that year, the latest year for which the agency has these figures available.
The Catholic ministry says the service is “available to all, regardless of their situation.”
“This is an important service for the most vulnerable children in our state,” Allmon said. “We must treat the remains of all human beings, no matter how long they lived or how they died, with dignity, charity and respect. In addition, this ministry offers a place to pray for healing to those who regret their abortion, or for abortion workers who leave the industry.”
Governor 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.”