Federal judge mulling fate of Texas fetal remains rules

AUSTIN, Texas (AP)  A federal judge is hearing arguments from abortion rights advocates and Texas attorneys before deciding whether the state's rules mandating burial or cremation for fetal remains can take effect.

The health department regulations would ban hospitals and abortion facilities from disposing of remains from abortions and miscarriages as biological medical waste, meaning they often end up in sanitary landfills.

Earlier legal challenges blocked similar measures in Louisiana and Indiana.

Texas' rules had been set to begin last month, but national activists sued and Austin-based U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks granted a temporary restraining order. He began hearing arguments Tuesday and expects to rule by Friday.

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