‘Texas laws are working as designed’
Amy O’Donnell, director of communications for the Texas Alliance for Life, calls Casiano’s situation “heartbreaking,” but says she supports the abortion bans and opposes creating exceptions for fetal anomalies.
“I do believe the Texas laws are working as designed,” she says. “I also believe that we have a responsibility to educate Texas women and families on the resources that we have available to them, both for their pregnancy, for childbirth and beyond, as well as in situations where they face an infant loss.”
She says several private and religious organizations provide free caskets and other services, but said public funds for infant funerals is not currently part of the “Alternatives to Abortion” state program. “That’s not to say that it shouldn’t be, and if the legislature decided to move that direction, we would support that,” O’Donnell says.
Duane says Texas has promised those funds before, as part of its defense of the fetal burial law. In that lawsuit, Duane argued that funerals can be expensive. “The state kept promising that they were going to provide all of these resources and grants and all this money for people who needed to have funerals,” Duane says. “[Texas] never did any of that. It was all just political theater.”
Halo’s funeral on Good Friday
Because she went into labor early, Casiano has less time than she expected to sort out how to pay for Halo’s funeral. She was quoted $4,000 by one funeral home. The family moved less than a year ago and used up all their savings on the move. Her family cooked menudo, a spicy Mexican soup, and raised $645 selling it by the bowl.
Cogdell, who runs the Christian grief group that’s been helping Casiano, says she was able to get several services donated, including picking up the baby’s body. In addition to the $480 she raised for Halo’s funeral, Cogdell said she used her organization’s general family assistance funds to pay for the rest of the funeral, which cost $1,400 in all.