Target: U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks
Goal: Thank Judge Sparks for putting an end to proposed regulations which would have forced women to bury any fetal or embryonic remains.
Victory has been achieved for women’s rights groups after a federal judge blocked a Texas rule that was set to take effect later this year. The ruling would have mandated the burial or cremation of any fetal or embryonic remains, regardless of gestation period. In other words, remains from miscarriages or from abortions (including in the case of life-threatening conditions like ectopic pregnancies) would have required a burial or cremation, rather than disposal in a sanitary medical landfill. The proposal had garnered outrage across the state, and throughout the entire nation, for placing a strain on lower-income women and invading women’s privacy.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks had previously suggested that the rule had some public health benefit, but was persuaded to block the ruling as placing an “undue burden on abortion access” after overwhelming feedback from protesters, the medical community, women’s health advocates, and petitions like this one on ForceChange.
One example of the rule’s “vague standards” was that it was unclear whether or not fetal remains would require a death certificate in order to be interred, and how that would be handled given the lack of a corresponding birth certificate. Another major issue was the question of who should bear the financial responsibility for burying or cremating the remains, especially in the case of low-income women. Ultimately, it was clear that the rules were unjust and unnecessary, and would result in many women simply opting out of the medical care they needed due to fear of possibly being forced to pay for funerary services, or being stigmatized after the trauma of a miscarriage.
The ruling could still be appealed by the state of Texas, but it will now need to be heard in a higher court in order to move forward. This marks a promising victory for women’s rights, and will hopefully have a lasting positive effect for Texas women. Sign this petition to thank U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks for standing on the side of reproductive rights.
Dear Judge Sparks,
I am writing to thank you for blocking a proposed rule which would have required that fetal and embryonic remains be buried or cremated. This ruling would have been harmful for the women of Texas in many regards. Women who underwent miscarriages or who were forced to terminate their pregnancies due to life-threatening conditions would have had to go through the additional trauma of having to plan funeral arrangements. Lower-income women would have found it more difficult to obtain the reproductive care they needed, for fear of the additional costs of interring the remains. It is alarming to consider what the possible consequences could have been, and how many women could have been hurt or even lost their lives as a result.
I thank you for halting this rule, and for ensuring that women will continue to have access to their basic reproductive rights. I hope you will continue to support women’s rights in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Brusalvate