Attorney General Ken Paxton said he’s confident that by the end of an expected weeklong trial that began in U.S. District Court today, lawyers from his office will firmly establish the constitutionality of a Texas law that provides new rules on the humane disposition of fetal remains.
“Texas has chosen to respect unborn life by adopting rules requiring the dignified treatment of fetal remains, rather than allow health care facilities to dispose of the remains in sewers or landfills,” Attorney General Paxton said. “At the trial, we’ll demonstrate that the rules are constitutional and do not impact the abortion procedure or the availability of abortion in Texas. I’m confident in our arguments and look forward to the courts ultimately upholding Texas law.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that states have an interest in the lives of the unborn. Last session, the Texas Legislature enacted a law (Senate Bill 8) that, among other things, prohibits health care providers from disposing fetal remains in sewers or landfills and instead to treat their remains in more dignified fashion such as burial, cremation or the spreading of ashes. Previous law permitted fetal remains to be discharged into a sewer system or sent to a landfill.
During the trial, lawyers for the attorney general’s office will present evidence and expert witness testimony to bolster Texas’ case against challenges to the law. They’ll argue that if the law takes effect, women will continue to have the same access to abortion that they previously had and it will not violate any patient’s constitutional rights.
In January, a U.S. District Court judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect, ruling that it was likely to impose “significant burdens on abortion access,” but held off on a final ruling until the trial this week to fully consider the law’s impact.