The Texas Department of State Health Services is holding a public hearing on Thursday over a rule proposed by state health officials this summer that would require embryonic and fetal tissue be buried or cremated after an abortion, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

The rule has been praised by Gov. Greg Abbott, who said in a July fundraising email, “It is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”

Abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood Texas affiliates and NARAL Pro-Choice Texas strongly oppose the regulations.

They are testifying at Thursday’s hearing.

Here’s how these groups are responding to the proposed rule:


Planned Parenthood Testifies at Public Hearing in Opposition to Proposed Fetal Tissue Rule

TODAY: Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. CT

AUSTIN, TX – Today, the Department of State Health Services hears testimony in opposition to new regulations intended to restrict access to safe and legal abortion in Texas.

With little notice and just four days after the Supreme Court struck down restrictions that have already shuttered health centers across the state, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) introduced proposed rules that would force all women to bury or cremate fetal tissue following a safe, legal abortion. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas submitted public comment to DSHS and Planned Parenthood supporters throughout the state have submitted more than 2,500 comments to the department in opposition to the rule, in addition to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Texas Medical Association, and the Texas Hospital Association.



More Than 1,100 Texans Decry Proposed Rules Requiring Fetal Tissue From an Abortion be Buried or Cremated

Austin, TX – The Texas Department of State Health Services held a public hearing Thursday on a proposed rule that would require embryonic and fetal tissue to be buried or cremated following an abortion, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. More than 1,100 Texans have signed a petition from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas against the proposed measure.

“This is another politically-motivated move by our state’s leaders to make it harder for Texans to access abortion,”  Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said. “This rule has nothing to do with the safe practice of medicine, but rather is a thinly-veiled attempt to shame Texans who have abortions and make it harder for doctors to provide abortions. Instead of passing laws that complicate a patient’s experience and force them to consider burial services or death certificates, we should focus on making sure that patients are supported and respected and empowered in their decision.”

The rules dictate how health care facilities must dispose of tissue at all stages of pregnancy, with no exceptions for genetic testing, research or pathology and no consideration for best medical practices or patients’ wishes or religious beliefs.