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Abortion providers are hoping to stop a new rule that would require health care facilities to cremate or bury fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions, regardless of the gestation time or a woman’s wishes. Filed on Monday, the federal lawsuit brought by Whole Woman’s Health and others claims the new rule, which is set to go into effect on Dec. 19, is unconstitutional.
Gov. Greg Abbott has supported the rule, though, and has said fetal remains shouldn’t be treated like medical waste.
However, health care providers – and even funeral homes – are worried the implications of this rule are unclear and possibly costly.
Darryl Thompson runs the Weed-Corley-Fish funeral home on the edge of UT Austin’s campus. He says for years now he’s worked with a local Catholic hospital as part of a community service. Sometimes he’s asked to deal with the fetal remains of a miscarriage for families.
Usually, he says, the hospital chaplain arranges a funeral at a local cemetery. Other times, he’s asked to step in.
“Families are certainly given the opportunity to make disposition of their family members and, if they elect not to, then the hospital will call us and we will take care of that process,” Thompson explained. “Now, this is one specific group.”
Catholic hospitals do things this way because they believe life begins at conception, but not all health care providers are Catholic—or even religious.