As of 9th December The Health Department of Texas will be required to bury or cremate foetuses. The new law makes this an imperative.
The news has provoked controversy across social media boards.
Some believe the new legislation gives voice and dignity to the unborn, others are stupefied and enraged at the distress and burden this will put on women living in Texas.
Texas on Abortion
For many years, abortion has a been a hot topic in this region. A divided subject. The government has seen its fair share of discussions and cases as they try to determine the boundaries and guidelines of where their legal and moral compasses lie. Three years ago, in 2013, new abortion restrictions were debated and there was strong support for banning the aid of centres from pro-life advocates. However, they failed in their intent.
Some view this new law as a rebellion against this decision, and a statement that even if Texas will not illegalise the act of aborting a foetus, then they will make it as difficult as possible for women to access these services.
The Dignity Defence
The new law decrees that abortion clinics will be required to bury or cremate the remains of foetuses that are aborted or miscarried. However, this rule will only extend to women seeking institutional aid for these procedures; not to women at home who may chemically abort, or who miscarry there.
Pro-life advocates have argued the new law gives the unborn a voice and will prevent the spread of communicable disease caused by dangerous medical waste disposal.
The campaign has been chaperoned by governor Greg Abbott, who has rallied in support of the new law. In a fundraising email written by the governor he said:
“Human life is not a commodity or an inconvenience. It is our most basic right. Without it, we have no rights.”
He goes on to write:
“It is our imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life.”
A lot of his support has been gained by members of the public belonging to religious groups, and from pro-life activists that disagree with the ethics of abortion as they view it as an inhumane act, a rejection of the gift of life and as murder for denying the foetus a chance to grow.
They think that in the very least by burying the remains we are acknowledging the child as a human, one whose death is mourned. Also by burying or cremating the foetus, as is traditional practice following death, some hope to encourage more people to stand against the choice of abortion.
The Humanitarian Offense
In adversary critics, have said the law has little relation to health issues. Medical experts have said that the previous method of disposal of foetuses offered next to no danger in regards to health or causing disease. In reaction to this statement many have criticised the motives of Abbott and pro-life advocates, believing this law being passed has little to do with medical standards and more to do with personal beliefs.
Pro-choice advocates have argued the distress and burden this new law will put on women is a tactic to shame and guilt them into keeping a child.
As the procedure, must be catered for by the clinics it will require patients to pay additional cost for the burial or cremation. Some have argued the law is victimising lower income families, using wealth against them also to prevent abortion.
Many are outraged by the passing of this law. Women have a constitutional right to seek abortion, and as the government in the past has been unable to remove this, now they seek only to put up more obstacles to the women seeking help in this way. Some have commented that these recent actions demonstrate the callous indifference Texas politicians possess in relation to women.
They see the law as a breach of personal boundaries, an invasion of an individual’s beliefs and rights.
Seen as the law will also only apply to women seeking the attention of health services and abortion clinics, and does not extend to similar proceedings that may take place in their own home, some are also concerned it will force women towards taking matters into their own hands. The new legislation may pose a threat to the safety of women; that due to the cost and emotional burden of the new legislation, may attempt to conduct harmful or amateur alternatives to professional care.
Pro-choice protestors believe women have been ignored and shunned from by Texan politicians and will be paying a high price for a legislation that does very little to help them and serves only the personal interest of conservative governors.
Choice is a right
As the human carrying a child; it remains a biological part of the mother until the day of birth. A woman should possess the right to control her own body and decide what happens to it. It is her human right to make the decision for what is best for her and her child, and whether like or not; it should be accepted that sometimes that decision is for a pregnancy to be stopped. Why should women be shamed and punished for this?
The enforced act of mourning and grieving a foetus; by burying or cremating the remains; exists seemingly only little purpose other than to deterrence from women using services that have by law and ethics and human rights been made available to them.
The psychological torture that experience may cause for these women seems cruel and without substantial purpose, other than to make a statement of disagreement with what they wish to do with their bodies.
What helps even less is this movement has been speared and passed by a majority of male governing bodies; once again highlighting the neglect and disrespect they have for the equal rights of women.
One thing is for sure lots of eyes will be turned towards Texas in this next week, as we observe the full scale of the consequences of this decision. As far as the internet is concerned; the disbelief and outrage of this reality is far from over.