US judge halts Texas rules on fetal tissue disposal rules: plaintiff
Judge giving a verdict (Shutterstock)

A U.S. judge on Thursday temporarily halted until Jan. 6 a Texas regulation due to take effect next week that requires abortion providers to dispose of aborted fetal tissue either through burial or cremation, a women's reproductive health group in the suit said.

The regulation, set to take effect on Dec. 19, also requires hospitals and other medical facilities to bury or cremate miscarried fetuses. It is seen by women's health providers as part of a nationwide agenda to place new restrictions on abortions.

Under the temporary restraining order issued in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Judge Sam Sparks will hold hearings on Jan. 3 and 4, according to Whole Woman's Health, a plaintiff in the suit. Electronic court filings were not immediately available.

"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," Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said in a statement.

The state's Health and Human Services Commission previously said in a statement the state "developed new rules to ensure Texas law maintains the highest standards of human dignity."

Republicans opposed to abortion have proposed new restrictions on the procedure in several states after the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down regulations in Texas.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Chris Reese and Andrew Hay)