Federal judge permanently blocks Texas fetal burial law

Federal judge permanently blocks Texas fetal burial law
© Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a Texas law that would require the burial or cremation of any fetal remains.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra wrote in his ruling issuing the permanent injunction that the law would cause a "near catastrophic" failure of the health-care system for women of childbearing age in Texas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Passed in 2017, the law would have required health-care facilities to bury or cremate fetal remains — whether they are the result of an abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth or an ectopic pregnancy — regardless of a patients' wishes.

Ezra, an appointee of President Reagan, wrote in his decision that the measure "would be a violation of a woman's right to obtain a legal abortion under the law as it stands today."

He noted that the Texas law would also have an impact on women who have miscarriages, noting they outnumber those who have abortions.

The judge ruled that the law would create "substantial obstacles" for women, doctors and abortion facilities while offering absolutely no health benefits.

Ezra had previously issued a temporary injunction in January, blocking the law from going into effect on Feb. 1.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said the state would appeal the ruling Wednesday.

"My office will continue to fight to uphold the law, which requires the dignified treatment of fetal remains, rather than allow health care facilities to dispose of the remains in sewers or landfills," he said.

Supporters of abortion rights argue the law is an attempt to punish women for getting abortions.