Beginning Dec. 19, fetuses aborted in Texas must be buried or cremated – a controversial new rule met with criticism from abortion rights activists and much of the medical community.
Health officials finalized the new rules on Monday, prohibiting health care facilities from disposing of fetal remains, The Washington Post reports.
Those rules apply regardless of the period of gestation, but will not apply to women who have miscarriages or at-home abortions.
The rule came at the request of state Governor Greg Abbott, and the Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission officially proposed it in July.
“I believe it is imperative to establish higher standards that reflect our respect for the sanctity of life,” Abbott said in a fundraising email about the rule in July, Time reports.
The rule comes despite a petition protesting it, which garnered almost 6,000 signatures, while the Health and Human Services Commission received over 35,000 comments about the rule.
Some argue the rule would further traumatize women who undergo abortions – an argument women backed up at two public hearings, sharing personal stories of abortions and miscarriages.