Yesterday, pro bono lawyers from Morrison & Foerster and the Center for Reproductive Rights won an order blocking implementation of a new Texas rule requiring burial or cremation of embryonic or fetal remains following an abortion, miscarriage, or termination of an ectopic pregnancy. The rule was set to take effect on December 19.
The federal court for the Western District of Texas issued the Temporary Restraining Order on Thursday, December 15. Representing patients, doctors and clinics, the MoFo-CRR team argues that the rule serves no medical purpose and is intended only to induce guilt and shame in women who choose to end a pregnancy, and to make abortion more expensive. As such, it is unconstitutional.
The Texas rule was justified in part on public health grounds; however, the lawsuit alleges that the state has produced no evidence tying the new restrictions to any public health benefit. Just last spring, the MoFo-CRR team won a critical ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court confirming that health-based restrictions on abortion must serve actual health purposes, a test the new rule does not meet.
The lawyers will be back in court on January 3, 2017 for a full hearing on the rule.