State of Texas: Proposed Fetus Disposal Rule Will Not Burden Medical Facilities

The rule is meant to protect the public from communicable diseases, according to a state analysis. An abortion rights activist said state officials have ignored concerns aired this summer. The state said that small facilities can turn to unspecified private businesses to help with extra costs. A proposed state rule requiring the cremation or burial of miscarried and aborted fetuses will not cost medical facilities more money despite concerns from abortion rights advocates, according to an analysis by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. “What we found through our research is that the proposed rules won’t increase total costs for health care facilities,” agency spokeswoman Carrie Williams said. Current rules allow fetal remains, as with other medical tissue, to be ground up and discharged into a sewer system, incinerated, disinfected or handled by some other approved process, followed by disposal in a landfill. The state agency said in its analysis, published Thursday, that the purpose of the rule is the “protection of the health and safety of the public” from communicable diseases. The rule, unchanged from when it was first proposed in July, is now subject to a 30-day public comment period before it goes into effect at a later unspecified date. Abortion advocates have said the proposal, which would change how health care providers dispose of fetal remains that aren’t donated for research, would drive up the cost of an abortion and discourage women from seeking a safe procedure. “The Department of State Health Services did not take seriously, and refuses to respond to, the thousands of public comments, and hours of testimony opposing these rules, that...