Effective January 1, 2016 Women Have the Right to Retain Their Placenta in Texas
Texas women can now have their baby, and keep their placenta too. HB 1670, known as the Texas Placenta Bill, was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 17, 2015. It passed in the Senate on May 26, 2015, with unanimous support (31-0). The new law allows mothers to keep their placenta after the birth of their baby in any Texas hospital or birthing center.
This is a major win for personal liberty, informed consent and choice for Texas women.
Previously before this new law, Texas classified placentas as medical waste, and every hospital in Texas has their own individual policy regarding the release of placentas.
This policy differed drastically, even among hospitals in the same city. Some hospitals simply required the mother to sign a release of liability form, and others required an expensive, and time consuming court order signed by a judge. Placentas were also released to a funeral home, since the placenta is considered an organ. Some hospitals simply refused to release the placenta all together.
Many women and families choose to retain their placenta after birth for various reasons. Some women choose to consume their placenta, most often in a dehydrated encapsulated pill form, after birth to help in their postpartum recovery. This practice helps replenish the iron and hormones that are lost after birth, which helps the mother recover both emotionally and physically. Families also retain their placenta to plant a tree in honor or memory of their baby, or part of a ceremonial practice.
The origin of this bill began after Melissa Mathis, a Dallas resident, was denied the right to her placenta after delivering her baby at Baylor University Medical Center in April 2014. During November election campaigning, Representative Kenneth Sheets literally came knocking on her front door. When Mathis answered the door, Sheets asked if there were any issues she was concerned about that he could address.
She told him the story of her placenta, and the lack of personal liberty she first-hand experienced. Sheets listened, and took action. A few months later HB 1670 was drafted and filed in February 2015.
Mathis created a grass roots campaign to build awareness for HB 1670. The Facebook group Pass the Placenta! (HB 1670) was created in March 2015 with regular posts on the status of the bill, and how women and families across Texas could take action to support the bill.
Within a few short months, the group has more than 500 active members. Through the dedicated efforts of the authors of this bill, committee members, Representative Sheets and his staff, and the wide-spread community support, HB 1670 passed in the Texas House of Representatives on May 13, and passed in the Senate on May 26, 2015.
The passing of this bill was significant for women’s rights in Texas. Regardless of what any woman wants to do with her placenta after the birth of her baby, it is now her choice.