Center for Reproductive Rights is Suing Texas Over Fetal Tissue Disposal Rule

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 13, 2016 10:48 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is suing Texas over a new rule regulating the disposal of fetal tissue.

Starting December 19, clinics will have to bury or cremate the remains of an abortion. Austin doctor Valerie Peterson recently obtained an abortion after she found out her 16-week-old fetus wouldn’t survive birth. She spoke on a conference call about the lawsuit:

“The last thing I would have wanted to worry about at that particular time was what to do with the fetal remains, whether it be buried or whether it be cremated,” Peterson said. 

Those who support the new regulations say fetal remains shouldn’t be treated as medical waste.

Federal and state authorities are touring Texas this week to see if children with disabilities are being denied access to special education services. They held two listening sessions last night – one in Richardson, near Dallas – and the other in Houston. Houston Public Media’s Laura Isensee went to that meeting:

More than a hundred parents and teachers showed up in Northwest Houston to tell federal authorities just how hard it’s been to get children special ed services.

“So if we actually do get a student who is referred for special education, we kind of joke among ourselves as teachers, ‘Oh wow! You actually got someone referred for ‘sped’ (special ed) – That’s kind of a miracle!” said Sarah Hensley, who teaches a bilingual second grade classroom in Aldine.

Parents recounted how they fought school districts, and their attorneys, for adequate services for their children.

In the Klein Independent School District, Tracy Atkins said that a private clinic diagnosed her daughter with several learning issues.

But school officials refused to give any special support, instead calling her daughter “cute” and “well-behaved.”

“And she deserves, as much as any other child, the right to be educated. She is seven and she can’t identify the word ‘the,’” Atkins said.

Parents and advocates demanded that federal authorities make sure Texas ends its benchmark for special education. It started in 2004 and was revealed in a Houston Chronicle investigation this fall. Listening sessions will be held tonight in El Paso and Edinburg. The final one is scheduled for Thursday in Austin.

A North Texas City Council member’s last-ditch effort to evict a library cat has gone to the dogs. The cat, Browser, first faced uncertainty over the summer but was ultimately allowed to keep calling the White Settlement Library home.

An outgoing city council member was hoping to get this Browser business back on the agenda today – something the city says won’t be happening.