(MEDIA ADVISORY) Today the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) re-submitted unconstitutional new healthcare restrictions designed to increase both the cost of reproductive healthcare services and the shame and stigma surrounding abortion and pregnancy loss.
The proposed regulations remain unchanged from the draft first put forward in July, failing to address the serious concerns raised by the Center for Reproductive Rights and others in many of the 12000-plus public comments submitted to the state.
These politically motivated restrictions would force healthcare providers serving women who seek abortion, treatment for miscarriage, or removal of an ectopic pregnancy to bury or cremate the embryo or fetal tissue resulting from these procedures, regardless of the woman’s personal wishes or religious beliefs.
They were first proposed only four days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ clinic shutdown law following a legal challenge brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights. DSHS put forward the restrictions without identifying any public health or safety benefit, in direct defiance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
In its August comment, the Center for Reproductive Rights noted that “the proposed amendments impose heavy burdens on women seeking abortion care and do not offer a proportional benefit, as required by the U.S. Constitution.” The state’s resubmitted regulations fail to address this comment or put forth any scientific evidence to support its claim that the proposed regulations have a legitimate basis, as required by the Whole Woman’s Health decision.
The comments also note that Governor Abbott recently sent an inflammatory fundraising email to his supporters asking for money based in part on these very regulations—indicating the true political purpose of the proposed sham regulations and undercutting the state’s claims that they have anything to do with protecting women’s health and safety.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has made clear to Texas officials that it is prepared to take further legal action to ensure that Texas women can continue to access abortion and other reproductive healthcare without politically motivated interference.
Interested parties have an additional 30 days to submit public comments on the restrictions, which could take effect as early as November 2016.