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AUSTIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Abortion activists are suing to block a recent Texas rule ordering that the remains of aborted babies be treated as human remains.
Eight abortion mills and one abortionist in the Austin area are defendants named in a complaint filed in district court claiming a rule passed in November by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is unconstitutional. It names as the plaintiff John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The rule, going into effect on December 19, forbids hospitals, abortion mills and any facilities performing abortions from dumping the remains of aborted babies into landfills as medical waste, instead requiring they bury or cremate babies' remains.
The complaint alleges that "the Regulation appears to eliminate the typical methods of safe disposal, and requires healthcare facilities to dispose of fetal and embryonic tissue using methods typically used to dispose of human bodies — by burial or scattering ashes."
Emily Horne, spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, commented to Church Militant, "In fact, preborn children are human bodies, simply at an earlier stage. Children do not lose their humanity, simply because their lives were short, and should not lose their dignity, even if their lives were lost in an abortion clinic."
The complaint goes on to claim that the new rule demands that women have funeral rituals for a "miscarriage management procedure, ectopic pregnancy surgery, or an abortion." It also maintains that it would require mothers to file for "fetal death certificates," which "publicize the name and address of every woman who had such an abortion in Texas."
"It would be an unprecedented invasion of their right to the confidentiality of their private medical information," critics argue.
Horne, however, maintains that the abortion industry is merely deceiving the public when it makes such claims. "A tired tactic of the abortion industry is to misrepresent the truth and loudly shout false claims about a Pro-Life rule or law in an effort to bolster up support."
She goes on to say, "The funeral claim is one of a number of false claims made about the rules, which do not require funerals, nor do they impose any requirements on women, only medical facilities and abortion clinics."
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute commented, "Typically, what has been required is that the products of conception be treated as any other tissue from the body. So, as medical waste."
The complaint has been filed in the Western District Court of Texas (the majority of whose judges are Republican), which, Horne adds, is known to oppose pro-life legislation. In 2014 a George W. Bush appointee struck down a law requiring abortion mills to comply with state-mandated standards, namely that they conform to the same standards required of surgical centers. The majority of Texas' abortion mills would be closed because of non-compliance.
A spokeswoman for Catholic governor Greg Abbott commented, "Governor Abbott believes human and fetal remains should not be treated like medical waste, and the proposed rule changes affirm the value and dignity of all life."
Horne agrees, revealing that the overall purpose of the rule is to "change the process by which preborn children are treated after death," with the hopes it will restore "a small amount of dignity to the most vulnerable among us after their tragic deaths."