If proposed new rules are put into place in Texas, all embryonic and fetal tissue will need to be buried or cremated—whether after an abortion, miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy. On Wednesday, during the Texas Department of Health Services' second public hearing on the proposed rules, women came forward to share their stories of miscarriages or abortions and to tell officials that putting the rules into effect would make an already painful experience much worse. Officials say they're trying to ensure all fetal remains are put to rest in a "dignified" fashion, but opponents say the proposal is just another way to restrict access to abortion in the state, Courthouse News reports. Officials have also said the rules would protect the public from communicable diseases, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
There are potential privacy concerns—it's not clear how the rules would be implemented, such as whether a death certificate will be required to inter fetal remains—as well as concerns about costs. The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Texas estimates $2,000 could be added to the cost of each abortion, per the Austin Chronicle. "You're monkeying around with people's lives here," said a tearful Ashley Blinkhorn, who testified about having two miscarriages. The rules would affect "so many people in so many ways that people aren't considering." The Department of Health Services could make changes to the proposed rules based on public comments. At that point, they would need to be approved by the Health and Human Services Commission executive commissioner and posted in the Texas Register 20 days before taking effect.