ACT NOW Against Rules Requiring Embryonic & Fetal Tissue Burial

November 29, 2016

On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services published the final rules on fetal and embryonic tissue burial, which we know serve no medical benefit and do nothing but impose an undue burden on Texans seeking abortion care. Since this summer, tens of thousands of you have submitted comments, spoken out at hearings and rallied outside the state health agency to oppose these rules, but it’s clear that the agency isn’t listening to us, or the medical community for that matter.

There’s still more you can do to make your voice heard. Right now, you can:

  1. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Remember to keep it within the word limit. You can use the talking points below to help you.
  1. Write or call your state lawmaker to register your opposition to this rule and any legislation. This month, Rep. Byron Cook introduced House Bill 201, which is likely to move through the legislature next session. You can find out who represents you here and use the talking points below in crafting your message.
  1. If you are interested in speaking publicly sharing your personal experience with abortion or miscarriage, (to the media, in a legal brief, at a public hearing), please email Heather Busby ([email protected]) with your contact info and we’ll discuss it further with you.
  2. Join our Legislative Action Team if you haven’t already! By signing up, you’ll get updates throughout the legislative session on other ways to get involved at the Capitol and in your local community. This week, we hosted our first Legislative Action Team call, which you can hear by clicking here.

Here are some talking points you can use in your letter to the editor or when writing or calling your lawmaker:

  • These rules have nothing to do with the safe practice of modern medicine, but instead are part of a nationwide effort to enact unnecessary regulations to restrict access to abortion.
  • Health care providers like hospitals and abortion clinics already follow the state’s standards for the sanitary disposal of medical waste including embryonic tissue. Just like other health care providers, they work with licensed medical tissue removal professionals to ensure fetal tissue is handled respectfully and safely and in accordance with the law. The addition of non-medical ritual to current clinical practice only serves to further interfere with a patient’s autonomy and decision making in their own medical care.
  • These requirements apply to miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and make it harder for a family’s ability to provide tissue samples for pathological examination and testing. This testing is important to get a more accurate diagnosis, which may help them successfully carry future pregnancies to term.
  • The rules unduly burden both abortion patients and providers without any discernable, proven medical benefit, which violates the U.S Supreme Court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
  • Every patient makes the decision to have an abortion for their own reasons based on their own lived experience.  We should focus on making sure that they are supported and respected in their decision and in their access to safe healthcare.
  • I ask that you remove politics from public health and listen to input from providers, medical practitioners and public health professionals rather than politicians when deciding public health policy.
  • Please rescind these rules or make reasonable adjustments to them – such as allowing incineration without burial – that provide for a humane and sanitary solution without unduly burdening patients and providers.