Texas Bill Regarding the Disposition of Fetal Remains (SB 258)
This law was last updated on May 8, 2017
SB 258 would amend current informed consent law to include information regarding the disposition of fetal remains.
The bill would require physicians to provide a pregnant patient with a disposition of remains form prior to performing or inducing an abortion. The physician would be required to inform the pregnant patient that the form:
- is provided by the Department of State Health Services;
- is accessible on the department ’s Internet Website;
- describes the options for the disposition of the “unborn child’s” remains and the pregnant patient’s possible responsibility for the costs incurred in the selected disposition;
- includes a section that allows the pregnant patient to authorize the physician or physician’s agent to release the pregnant patient’s contact information to a nonprofit organization that has registered with the department to pay the costs of the selected disposition for pregnant patient who are indigent; and
- must be completed by the pregnant patient and received by the physician before the abortion is performed.
The bill defines indigent to mean “an individual who earns not more than 155 percent of the income standard established by applicable federal poverty guidelines.”
Disposition of Remains
The bill provides that a pregnant patient may decide to inter or cremate the remains of an “unborn child” who is aborted. The health department would be required to develop and maintain a form for a pregnant patient to select the method of disposition of the remains. The form must include:
- burial and cremation as methods of disposition of the fetal remains;
- a statement that if the pregnant patient selects burial or cremation of the fetal remains, the pregnant patient may be responsible for the burial or cremation costs;
- a space for a pregnant patient who is indigent to choose to provide their contact information and to authorize the physician or the physician’s agent to release the patient’s contact information to a private nonprofit organization that has registered with the department to provide financial assistance for the burial or cremation costs;
- a statement that the pregnant patient may elect to have the abortion provider dispose of the fetal remains; and
- a statement that the pregnant patient may privately dispose of the fetal remains in a manner that complies with department rules but may be held financially responsible for the abortion provider’s costs of preparing the remains for transport.
If passed, the law would take effect on September 1, 2017.
Passed the senate on March 30, 2017, by a 22-9 vote.