Saturday, January 28, 2017

In The Fetal Position

After two days of testimony by medical experts and state witnesses, a US federal judge has once again blocked Texas's fetal tissue remains disposal regulations.

A federal judge on Friday blocked Texas from requiring that fetal remains to be buried or cremated, saying the rule placed burdens on access to abortion that “substantially outweigh the benefits.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly vowed to appeal, setting up another high-stakes battle over Texas’ attempts to regulate abortion providers — seven months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned two Texas regulations that would have left nine abortion clinics operating in the state.

After hearing two days of testimony early this month, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a preliminary injunction Friday that indefinitely prohibits Texas from enforcing the rule, which would require health facilities to ensure that fetal tissue is buried or cremated — with the ashes buried or appropriately scattered — whether from an abortion or miscarriage.

The rule didn’t apply to miscarriages at home or to early-term, drug-induced abortions that typically take place at home.

Sparks said the new standards were vague, inviting interpretations that would allow state health officials “to exercise arbitrary, and potentially discriminatory, enforcement on an issue connected to abortion and therefore sensitive and hotly contested.”

Worse, Sparks wrote in his order, state officials admitted that the new policy offered no health benefits and replaced tissue-disposal regulations that caused no health problems. While Texas leaders said the change was needed to promote respect for life and to protect the dignity of the unborn, it appeared that the rule “may be pretext for restricting abortion access,” Sparks said.

With only one identified vendor willing and able to dispose of fetal tissue as required by the new rule, the judge said it was reasonable to conclude that a lack of vendors could prohibit compliance — “which would deliver a major, if not fatal, blow to health-care providers performing abortions.”

Well no kidding the point of the bill is "restricting abortion access".  Dumping ridiculous regulatory burdens on women hasn't managed to end legal abortion in states, but dumping regulation after regulation on abortion providers has eliminated access for tens of millions of women in the South, Midwest, and Mountain West.

I'm glad to see that this is so obviously a back door method of restricting abortion that even a judge appointed by Poppy Bush can see it.

But thanks to voters, eventually Trump will get his Supreme Court pick on the bench, and most likely that will mean states like Texas will be able to regulate abortions into oblivion before too long, I fear.

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