Texas fetal remains rule blocked by federal judge

abortion procedure room
Whole Woman's Health North Austin location from 2013 (KXAN file photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new law that would have gone into effect on Dec. 19 requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains has been postponed by a federal judge.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a temporary restraining order blocking the rule from going into effect. The law requires hospitals and abortion clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains rather than disposing of them in a sanitary landfill, as they most often currently do with such remains and other biological medical waste.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Whole Woman’s Health filed the lawsuit on Monday stating the law serves no medical purpose.

“This restriction, just like the many before it, all across our nation, does not create any health benefit for women and is strictly designed to limit access to safe, quality abortion care,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder and CEO, Whole Woman’s Health in a statement on the ruling.

Judge Sparks delayed the rules until Jan. 6, when he expects to decide whether they should take effect thereafter.

Texas first proposed the rules in July, just after the U.S. Supreme Court voided many of the state’s larger restrictions on abortion.

With additional reporting by the Associated Press