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Freedom to Choose Your Final Disposition

The fight for freedom of body disposition in Texas - SB 105 seeks to give Texans the freedom to choose. Continue reading to learn more.
Texans deserve personal freedoms when choosing their final disposition
Texas flag blows in the wind after night falls on The Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.

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Texans deserve personal freedoms when choosing their final disposition

There is an uncomfortable decision we face during our lifetime: what happens to our body when we die. Currently, Texas lags far behind the rest of the country when it comes to personal rights and freedoms pertaining to this decision – and the reason is not as complex as you might think.

Funeral services are highly personal and each person should have the right to choose the services that are meaningful to them. How your final disposition is handled most certainly shouldn’t be dictated by policymakers based on their own personal beliefs.

But that’s exactly what’s happening in Texas. As more and more states recognize people’s right to having a full spectrum of funeral services available, Texas continues to limit body disposition options and personal freedoms for Texans.

An increasing number of Texans are tired of being told they don’t get to make final disposition decisions.

The Majority of Americans Can Choose Alkaline Hydrolysis, But Not Texans

A lot has changed in the funeral industry in the last few decades. Cremation is now more common than burial. The environmental impact of funeral services are a key consideration for many people, especially younger generations. Annual surveys from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) show an increasing number of people are interested in green death care. In 2018 almost 52% of respondents said they were open to exploring green funeral services, and that number has continued to go up in recent years. And a large percentage of Americans are also leaning away from the impersonal, traditional services that are controlled by large, conventional funeral homes.

Technology has also played a role. New disposition options like alkaline hydrolysis have emerged as we try to reduce the impact of disposition. Alkaline hydrolysis has quickly become a standard service around the U.S. over the last decade. Also known as water cremation, alkaline hydrolysis produces the same result as traditional cremation using water instead of flame. The process is gentler, safer and has a much smaller eco footprint than burial and even traditional cremation. 

Although the concept of using water for disposition may be new to many people, the practice has been in use for over thirty years. Water cremation was proven safe and effective three decades ago when it began being used by medical colleges and facilities.

“Alkaline hydrolysis reduces human remains down to bone fragments, just like the flame-based equivalent, but does so through a water-based dissolution. CANA first defined alkaline hydrolysis in 2010 as “a water-based dissolution process which uses alkaline chemicals, heat, agitation, and pressure to accelerate natural decomposition.””

Boston University

There’s even a movement towards natural organic recomposition, a form of disposition that was hard for many to get on board with when Washington State first legalized it in 2019. But in just three years time, four more states have legalized human organic recomposition, and it’s currently being considered for legalization by a number of other states.

There are currently 26 states that have legalized alkaline hydrolysis. That means right now, over half the country has greater freedoms than Texans when it comes to the right to decide our final disposition.

These 26 states are leading the way in guaranteeing liberty and freedom of disposition choice in the funeral industry while Texas has unfortunately fallen behind.

It’s Time for State Legislators to Give Texans More Disposition Options

Texas legislators that support the legalization of alkaline hydrolysis and natural organic recomposition aren’t out to do something novel or different. They’re actually simply trying to secure Texans the same freedom of disposition that the majority of Americans now have. 

Unfortunately, there are legislators in the state that want the options to remain limited to the few choices that they deem fit for all Texans.

Why is it that hundreds of millions of people in the majority of states have easy access to alkaline hydrolysis but not Texans? Bills have been put forth in the Texas legislature to legalize the practice, but they remain in limbo.

Collectively our legislators have failed to take action to ensure Texans have the same choices and freedoms that are enjoyed by the majority of Americans. Our government has failed us and is impinging on our rights!

Freedom To Choose Disposition Options in Texas

Lawmakers in states that have expanded disposition options recognize their beliefs aren’t shared with everyone in the constituency. They respect that others have different opinions and preferences that are deeply personal. They understand making alkaline hydrolysis and natural organic recomposition legal is the right thing to do because it expands the choice instead of limiting it unnecessarily.

The states that have legalized alkaline hydrolysis recognize how personal disposition services are and that their own preferences shouldn’t dictate the options that are available to all state residents. They respected their citizens’ right to choose, and didn’t let the opinion of some override their sound judgment on what was fair for all.

Failure to approve alkaline hydrolysis is purposely limiting disposition to burial and flame-based cremation, when other safe alternatives that are less impactful already exist.

What We Can Do to Guarantee Texans Get Equal Options for Disposition

The Texas government has infringed on one of our most sacred rights: the right to choose our own disposition.

When the state legislation fails to act, action is warranted. It’s up to citizens to speak up and demand the liberties they deserve. Passing legislation that allows for water cremation and natural organic reduction in Texas is the only way to protect people’s rights.

Senator Nathan Johnson (D) has authored SB 105, which aims to make alkaline hydrolysis legal in Texas just as it is in other southern states like Florida and Georgia and out further west in Colorado and Nevada. In an effort to make all options available to Texans, Senator Johnson has added natural organic recomposition to the bill. The purpose of the bill is to allow Texas consumers the freedom to choose the type of body disposition they feel is best for them. It would allow for the regulated practice of alkaline hydrolysis and natural organic recomposition so that alternative disposition options are available to everyone in Texas.

Texans are self-sufficient individuals who can make decisions for themselves, but advocating for more options in the funeral industry is no easy feat given that state regulations can stand in the way. Giving Texans the ability to choose from the same body disposition options that are accessible to millions of others requires action.

All those who believe Texans should be allowed to make their own body disposition choices should make sure their state representatives know their position. The more constituents speak up in favor of having disposition freedom, the more likely it is that all options will finally be made available to Texans.

Lawmakers that show support for the bill are showing that they understand doing things on our own terms is important to Texans. They’re showing that they trust Texans can make the right disposition choices for themselves. They are putting their own preferences aside so that we all can have the freedom to choose the funeral rites we want.

Ultimately, the legalization of alternative forms of body disposition isn’t about safety, efficacy or even environmental protection. It’s about freedom. The freedom to have control over one last decision in your life that will have a lasting impact on how you’re remembered.

Take action NOW on Sign the petition. Give Texans the freedom we deserve.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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