A huge victory for pro-choice groups in Texas, who have been fighting a new fetal burial law, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
Federal Judge David Ezra, who traveled from San Antonio to Austin to hear the lawsuit, issued a permanent injunction, halting enforcement.
“At best, enshrining the State’s view of pregnancy increases the grief, stigma, shame, and distress of women experiencing an abortion, whether induced or spontaneous," he writes. "At worst, the challenged laws intrude into the realm of constitutional protection afforded to ‘personal decisions concerning not only the meaning of procreation but also human responsibility and respect for it.'"
Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and president of Whole Woman’s Health, who brought the suit, told News Radio 1200 WOAI the ruling ensures women have access safe, legal abortion with dignity. In court, they argued the fetal burial bill added extra costs to abortion clinics, amounting to a back-door ban on the procedure.
“Make no mistake, these restrictions were designed to shame and stigmatize patients and health care providers. This decision reaffirms that Texan women are fully capable of making their own personal medical decisions about their families, futures, and reproductive health care.”
Pro-life groups like the Texas Alliance for Life lobbied hard for the law, arguing that it was a way to add dignity to the procedure.
"We understand that the Supreme Court prevents Texas from making abortion substantially more difficult to obtain before viability, and this law does not do that," said Joe Pojman Ph.D., Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director. "Regardless of whether this law goes into effect, the unfortunate reality is that abortion will remain readily available in Texas and will occur tens of thousands of times every year. This law merely requires that the dignity of the unborn child is recognized after abortion and that their remains are not treated as medical waste."
A representative of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops testified during the suit that they would provide burial services after miscarriage and abortion for any hospital and abortion facility in Texas at no cost, but Ezra ruled that the state has “no viable, integrated system in place for disposing of embryonic and fetal tissue remains.”