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Blogs comment on Texas' finalized fetal tissue disposal rule, access to care if Roe were overturned and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at Jezebel, Glamour and more.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS:

"Texas law to require burial or cremation of fetal remains," Rachel Vorona Cote, Jezebel: "On December 19, 2016, Texas will put into effect a law requiring that all fetal remains be cremated or buried," despite "vehement protest by both the medical community and reproductive rights activists," Cote writes. According to Cote, under the new rules, hospitals, abortion providers and other medical facilities will be required to cover the cost of burial or cremation for all fetal remains, no matter the stage of gestation. She explains that in finalizing the rules, state officials clarified that they will not apply to miscarriages or abortions that take place at home, nor will "birth and death certificates ... be required." However, she notes that the rules -- which are both costly and "sure to intensify the emotional duress of those seeking reproductive care" -- have spurred "a furious uproar" from reproductive rights advocates and other stakeholders, with the Center for Reproductive Rights stating that they "'will almost certainly trigger costly litigation'" (Cote, Jezebel, 11/28).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Tracking state attacks on abortion rights in Donald Trump's America," Stassa Edwards, Jezebel.

ACCESS TO CARE:

"Women already have to travel across the country for abortions. I'm one of them," Candice Russell, Glamour: Citing comments made by President-elect Donald Trump that women might have to travel to another state to access abortion care if Roe v. Wade were overturned, Russell explains that such a situation "has been a reality for years in states that already restrict abortion access." Russell shares her own experience traveling from Texas, where abortion rights had been significantly restricted under a "now unconstitutional" omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2), to California to obtain an abortion after an unintended pregnancy. Because many clinics in Texas had closed, Russell faced "a two-and-a-half week wait to schedule the first of my two state-mandated appointments." Citing concerns about her job and "how close to the 20-week ban cutoff [she] would be if [she] had to reschedule," Russell instead traveled to California to obtain the procedure. However, she need to take out a high-interest payday loan to afford the costs of out-of-state abortion care and related travel costs, which "sent [her] into a financial tailspin." She writes, "Sadly, my story isn't uncommon. ... The majority of people who have abortions hover at the poverty line, and most of us have to pay for our abortions out of pocket due to lack of insurance coverage or policies like the Hyde Amendment." Russell concludes that while overturning Roe might not "end abortion access for everyone," particularly those with higher incomes, it would "add safe abortion to the list of things those who need it most can't get" (Russell, Glamour, 11/28).

What others are saying about access to care:

~ "The future of abortion access might be snail mail," Lauren Longo, Care2.

~ "Your obstetrician (and Trump) will see you now," Priya Rajan, Care2.

ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT:

"Pushing back on the house's abortion provider 'witch hunt," Warren Hern, Ms. Magazine blog: In response to a letter from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of a House panel targeting abortion providers, Hern, who provides abortion care, lambasts the panel's investigation as "a delusional witch hunt that is very much in the tradition of [the] abuse of power most hideously exemplified by Joseph McCarthy." In his response, Hern asserts that Blackburn's "clear and unabashed purpose is to obstruct women seeking abortions, to control their lives, and crush physicians who help them" by "using the coercive power of the State to impose [her] own religious and partisan beliefs upon those who do not share them." According to Hern, Blackburn has sought records from him based on "patently false" claims that he has sold fetal tissue for money and that "confidential medical records of my patients are public records available for [the panel's] obsessive prurient review," among other "outrageous and preposterous assumptions." Hern outlines his office policies, which include the voluntary and medically beneficial donation of fetal tissue, stating, "I am determined to give my patients the safest possible medical care in a humane and dignified environment that supports their emotional and social needs to the fullest extent possible." Noting the panel is exacerbating providers' "risk of violent retaliation" from abortion-rights opponents, Hern concludes by refusing to comply with Blackburn's demands, stating that "to comply with any such instruction would be in violation of my Fifth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution and a breach of confidentiality of my doctor-patient privilege" (Hern, Ms. Magazine blog, 11/22).