Texas Governor Greg Abbott is nothing if not an optimist. Barely a week after the Supreme Court decided that he couldn't implement stupid TRAP laws (the "targeted regulation of abortion providers"), he came right out and decided to require fetal remains to be buried or cremated -- and he's been dutifully practicing his bagpipes all summer in anticipation of those regulations going into effect on September 1.

ALAS, there are still a few things standing in his way. Like a hearing that will be going on today, August 4, in which everyone -- including pro-choice people -- will get to get up and say what they think of this plan. And that might not go so well, given that the entire argument for these regulations is "We think it would be NICE! And also we think if we keep pushing the idea of fetuses as fully-fledged human beings, we will finally get to have Roe v. Wade overturned and then the womenfolk will have so many babies that they will have to go back to the kitchen and bake us PIES! And also we won't have to compete with them for jobs! But mostly PIES!"

However, according to parade-rainer Blake Rocap, legislative counsel for NARAL, "The rule creates ambiguity and involves other licensed professionals, like funeral service directors and cemeteries that are not involved in medical care, and shouldn’t be involved, and don’t want to be involved in it."

Oh, also, in the event of an early miscarriage occurring at a hospital or medical facility (which happens often), there is almost no way of even identifying the embryo because it's that tiny. The regulations leave out any instructions at all on how to do this. Also not sure how it would work for people taking Mifepristone, or who have miscarriages at home I mean -- not to be graphic, but does Greg Abbot know how many fertilized embryos are flushed down toilets every year? Heck! Fifteen to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages in the United States -- including in instances where someone may not even know they are pregnant! What about funerals for THOSE embryos?

Not only that... but it is going to cost a FUCKTON of money. For who? Not even sure, that really hasn't been hashed out yet! But, as it turns out, cremation and burial are actually really expensive! A lot more expensive than donating fetal tissue or incinerating it! WEIRD.

Via Texas Observer:

If current prices are applied to the cremation of fetal tissue, the average would be around $2,000 per direct cremation or immediate burial, at a cost to Texas families of over $100 million, based on the number of abortions performed in 2014. Even the lowest charge from the Texas funeral survey would cost Texas families over $31 million. And that’s just for induced abortions — the total costs to Texans of cremating or burying the remains produced by spontaneous miscarriages that occur in health-care facilities is nearly unthinkable.

It's highly unlikely that clinics and hospitals will be able to field this cost themselves, and the cost will likely be passed onto the patient. Greg Abbott and friends likely find the idea of this simply delightful, assuming it will lead to far less abortions in the state due to only very rich people being able to afford them. Of course, this will also involve charging people for burial and cremation when they have a miscarriage in the hospital, so those people will also have to pay lots and lots of money for their fetus funerals!

It will certainly be interesting when anti-choice women have miscarriages in hospital and find themselves having to pay $2000 more than they thought they were going to pay in order to bury or cremate something smaller than an ant. Somehow, I bet punishing the abortion-havers will suddenly seem like less of a priority.

[Texas Observer | El Paso Herald Post]


Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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