Texas Fetal Burial Law Set To Take Effect On December 19

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 12, 2017 1:27 pm

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

Texas health officials held a public hearing yesterday about a rule requiring health facilities to bury or cremate fetal tissue. The rule would apply to abortions and miscarriages that happen in hospitals or abortion clinics.

As KUT News reports, many of those testifying in favor of the rule were anti-abortion advocates, like Steven Devine. But Devine told officials it wasn’t just about abortion.

“It is about how the dead are treated and handled after the abortion and after miscarriages,” Devine said.

But those who opposed the fetal burial rule, such as Alicia Weigel with the group Deeds Not Words said the regulation is unconstitutional.

“The forcing of the burial of fetal remains is religious coercion and its enshrining faith into legal doctrine,” Weigel said.

A federal judge struck down a similar measure in January, and stopped it from taking effect, pending a trial. This version of the law is set to take effect December 19.

A Mexican journalist who is in the United States seeking asylum was nearly deported last week. After reporting on cartels and military corruption, he says his life was threatened. Now, after nearly 10 years in the U.S., he’s facing deportation and is currently being held in a West Texas detention facility.

Bayla Metzger has the details.

Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez had his application for asylum denied earlier this year. His lawyer then filed an appeal and it was still in process last week when Gutiérrez visited ICE offices in El Paso for a routine check-in. That’s when he and his 24-year-old son were arrested. His lawyer Eduardo Beckett says Gutiérrez was then moved to a detention facility in Sierra Blanca.

“They could’ve easily detained him here,” Beckett says. “The detention center, which is El Paso Detention Center, is within like 10 minutes from my office. They have the space. They could have easily left him there. But they decided for unknown reasons to take him 90 miles away.”

Beckett said agents were originally planning to take Gutiérrez and his son across the border. Beckett believes Gutiérrez could be held in the West Texas facility during his appeals process – which could take between 6 months and a year.

The only woman who served on the grand jury that indicted Jack Ruby for shooting and killing Lee Harvey Oswald has died.

KERA News reports philanthropist Ruth died Friday from complications with a broken hip.

The indictment of Ruby, a nightclub owner, was also the first time a woman served on a grand jury in Dallas. Altshuler talked to the Washington Post in 2013 about waiting at the Dallas Trade Mart for President John F. Kennedy to arrive when she heard the news of his assassination.

“Eric Jonsson, the founder of Texas Instruments, said ‘I have terrible news to report, the president has been shot.’ He didn’t say he’s dead, I don’t know whether he knew it then or not,” she said.

Services are for scheduled Thursday in Dallas. Ruth Altshuler was 93.