State Lawyers Say Fetal Tissue Not Considered Human Remains as They Defend Texas Abortion Rules

AUSTIN — Lawyers for the state of Texas argued Wednesday that fetal tissue is not the same as human remains, attempting to convince a judge that new rules on handling tissue from abortions and miscarriages don't run afoul of a law on spreading ashes.U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, hearing a request to block the requirement that such fetal tissue be buried or cremated, had expressed concern about overriding a state law that allows ashes from cremation to be scattered on any private property with the owner's consent. Jennifer Sims, deputy commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, said Tuesday the rules prohibit ashes of fetal tissue to be scattered at a landfill. The state argued Wednesday that because fetal tissue is not the same as human remains, the law on ashes does not apply.Abortion providers in Texas sued the state over the rules last month and Sparks temporarily suspended them, pending the results of this week's trial. Wednesday's hearing is the final one scheduled, and a ruling is expected soon after.On Tuesday, women's health care providers argued that the rules do not advance public health and could put some abortion providers at risk of closure.  Continue reading...

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