As American voters prepare to go to the polls to select the country’s next president, reproductive rights will be a key issue that influences how many women will cast their votes. Despite the Obama administration being friendly to the issue of reproductive rights over the last eight years, on the state level, a flurry of hurdles have been introduced to dissuade and restrict women from seeking abortions. According to a recent tally by The Atlantic, at least 10 states have laws on the books, or are considering passing laws, dictating how fetal remains should be handled following an abortion. Several of those states mandate burials and/or cremations and some even require a funeral to be held. Texas became the latest state to update its guidelines on fetal remains in mid-September. The new proposals would require abortion providers and women to engage in compulsory mourning rituals. The new rules could go into effect within the next week, The Huffington Post reports.
The regulations in Texas are extremely vague, leaving them open to all sorts of questions about who is required to pay for funeral arrangements and whether an actual funeral director must be involved. But one thing that’s not unclear is the aim of the regulations. “All of these rules are of the same design,” said Blake Rocap, of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, “which is to complicate standard medical practice by overlaying other unnecessary requirements to make it so hard that women won’t be able to access abortion. And if they can, it will be outrageously expensive — much more expensive than it should be.” NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is actively challenged the proposed regulations.
The shift toward legislation mandate burial procedures has been a swift one, Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager with the Guttmacher Institute, a policy and research organization that focuses on reproductive rights, explained to HuffPost. “In just a couple of years this issue has gone from an idea to a really fairly burdensome [form of] legislation and regulation,” she said. “It looks like this is what we’ll see as one of the priorities in state legislators next year.” Nash said the future looks grim for reproductive rights amid what she sees as a “move away from women’s health.”
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.