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Only days after reproductive rights advocates celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a law that would have shuttered the vast majority of abortion clinics in Texas, Gov Greg Abbott quietly proposed new rules that would require aborted foetuses to be buried or cremated.
Mr Abbott published the proposal 1 July to be available for public comment for 30 days. Following that period, the new rules could easily be implemented, bypassing a vote by state legislators.
“Governor Abbott believes human and foetal remains should not be treated like medical waste, and the proposed rule changes affirms the value and dignity of all life,” the governor’s spokesperson, Ciara Matthews, told theAssociated Press.
In Texas, state agencies can implement new rules without receiving formal approval from lawmakers. Although, it is unusual for governors to propose the rule themselves, but agency staff. Along with his appointed director of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Mr Abbott proposed the new rules without formal review period with the agency.
Abortion rights advocates see the move as yet another effort by the anti-abortion governor to make abortion inaccessible for Texas women, and the new rules would bring non-medical ceremonial, non-medical processes into medical regulation.
“I think the biggest point is you have [a state] agency, through the governor’s fiat, propose his own idea of tradition and ceremony into a space where it doesn’t belong,” legal counsel for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Blake Rocap told The Independent.