Texas health officials have quietly written new rules aimed at forcing abortion providers to cremate or bury fetal remains, regardless of gestational period. The state’s Health and Human Services Commission recently moved to mandate the actions in all hospitals and clinics. Under existing rules, fetal remains are treated the same as blood and removed organs and other body parts, through a third-party waste service. The amendments suggested by the commission were published in the Texas Register last Friday. “The Health and Human Services Commission developed new rules to ensure Texas law maintains the highest standards of human dignity,” spokesman Bryan Black said Wednesday. “Public comment will be taken, and then the final rules are expected to take effect in September.” The proposed rules do not require approval by lawmakers in the Texas legislature, The Texas Tribune reports. A spokeswoman for Gov. Greg Abbott said he hopes the new rules will also become part of written state law when the legislative session begins in 2017. “Gov. Abbott believes human and fetal remains should not be treated like medical waste, and the proposed rule changes affirms the value and dignity of all life,” his representative said.
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