A federal judge has blocked a despicable Texas law that required fetal remains and embryonic tissues to be cremated or buried. Good fucking riddance. U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra ruled on Wednesday that the law, passed by the Texas legislature in 2017, violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and would have placed a “substantial obstacle” between a person and basic medical care. The Dallas Morning News reports that Ezra argued the law would disproportionately affect people who have miscarriages, who he said outnumber those seeking abortions.
“The facts as I have found them, and it was not even a close call, show that this law would cause a violation of a woman’s right to obtain a legal abortion,” Ezra said. “If the law were to go into effect now, it would cause significant, if not catastrophic, disruptions to the health care system.”
The law required hospitals and abortion clinics to arrange burials and cremations for fetal remains from abortions as well as ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, regardless of a patient’s wishes. Ezra noted that the law put an unreasonable burden on doctors, clinics, and those seeking abortions. Failure to comply to the state’s requirements could lead to a slew of facility closures, a move Ezra hoped to avoid in his ruling.
He did, however, throw a bone to anti-abortion activists. “The state must provide an adequate and workable system by which medical providers can dispose of tissue without providing an undue burden on women and medical providers,” said Ezra.
This surely gives Attorney General Ken Paxton a glimmer of hope. “Today’s ruling is disappointing, but I remain confident the courts will ultimately uphold the Texas law” Paxton said in a written statement, as reported by the Dallas Morning News. “My office will continue to fight to uphold the law, which requires the dignified treatment of fetal remains, rather than allow health care facilities to dispose of the remains in sewers or landfills.”
Paxton plans to appeal the ruling.