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Last week the Department of State Health Services published long overdue draft rules for the humane and dignified disposition of human fetal remains. Support of these rules is something on which people on both sides of the fractious abortion debate can find common ground.  Regardless of one’s definition -- unborn babies, products of conception, fetuses, embryos, etc. -- the fact is they are fully human remains and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, the same respect provided for human bodies donated for scientific research. 

 

The strong tradition of respect for human life made many recoil in horror upon seeing videos of abortion facility employees bartering for baby parts.  Questions raised by these videos caused State Representative Byron Cook and Governor Greg Abbott to question Texas’ rules and practices for disposition of bodies of unborn babies. 

 

Since 1989, Texas has allowed abortion facilities to grind aborted babies in commercial garbage disposals and wash them down the drain, right into our water supply.  In fact, in 2005, a woman working near an abortion facility in Houston reported seeing human body parts mixed in the sewage after a break in the line. Local news reported her saying, “Whether it’s legal or not, it’s not right.  This whole area is nothing but raw sewage and bloody pieces.  There were little legs coming out from one side.” She was right.

 

Abortion proponents are outraged by the issuance of these draft rules, which is puzzling. It can’t be because of economic concerns. Abortion facilities already contract with medical waste disposal companies that incinerate human tissue. These companies charge by weight; these tiny babies don’t weigh much.

 

The claim that this is a response to the Supreme Court ruling against HB 2, which was an attempt to require abortion facilities to raise their safety standards to protect women’s health, suggests that the naysayers are out of touch with their clients and the public. Public discussion of this very idea took place in the State Affairs committee hearing on April 28. Clearly Governor Abbott and Chairman Cook were working with staff at DSHS to develop these rules long before the decision on HB 2 was made or there never would have been time to publish them in the July 1 Texas Register.

 

Women seeking abortion are often ambivalent about their choice, both before and after.  Many women have testified before the legislature about experiencing grief and sorrow after an abortion. One woman even posted on Planned Parenthood’s Facebook page that she was “damn near suicidal,” wondering if her baby’s body parts had been harvested and sold.  Knowing that the remains were ground up in the disposal must be equally horrific to consider.

 

Texans can do better than this. We applaud state leaders who are taking action to correct this gruesome practice.

 

 

How to comment on the proposed rules:

 

The public can submit comment in an email to allison.hughes@dshs.state.tx.us. Specify “comments on special waste from health care-related facilities” in the subject line.  Feel free to be brief and simply express your support