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Controversial Texas Abortion Law Upheld By Federal Appeals Court

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Controversial Texas Abortion Law Upheld By Federal Appeals Court

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Texas pro-choice protest

By James Queally, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

A federal appeals panel has decided to uphold nearly all of the provisions of a Texas law that will force the closure of most of the state’s abortion clinics, according to an opinion published on Tuesday.

The ruling, which effectively affirmed the 2013 passage of House Bill 2, will force the closure of all but eight of the state’s clinics, advocates say.

“It’s a travesty that a state the size of Texas will only have eight safe, legal abortion clinics. The 5th Circuit has once again put their political ideology above the law,” Heather Busby, executive director of Pro-Choice Texas, said in a statement.

The measure, which first cleared the Texas Legislature nearly two years ago, was part of a wide-ranging bill that limited access to abortions and put restrictions on when they could be conducted.

The bill banned nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape or incest with a minor. It also required that abortion-inducing drugs be administered in the presence of a doctor, which required most patients to visit clinics on three separate occasions.

The bill also required the doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, and required clinics to have the same equipment and building requirements as ambulatory surgery centers, even if those facilities only administered oral anti-abortion drugs.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the surgical center requirements statewide and the admitting privileges requirement for two facilities last summer, but Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who now serves as the state’s governor, filed an immediate appeal.

In its Tuesday ruling, the 5th Circuit overturned Yeakel’s ruling, but made an exception for a facility in McAllen, Texas, on the grounds that is the only abortion facility in the area.

Abortion rights advocates have already announced plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Once again, women across the state of Texas face elimination of safe and legal options for ending a pregnancy, and the denial of their constitutional rights,” said Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s prior rulings do not allow for this kind of broadside legislative assault on women’s rights and health care. We now look to the justices to stop the sham laws that are shutting clinics down and placing countless women at risk of serious harm.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who championed the bill while he was a member of the state House of Representatives, praised the decision as a victory for women’s rights and safety.

“Abortion practitioners should have no right to operate their businesses from substandard facilities and with doctors who lack admitting privileges at a hospital,” Paxton said in a statement on Tuesday. “This ruling will help protect the health and well-being of Texas women.”

(Staff writer Maria L. La Ganga contributed to this report.)

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

File Photo: Protest in Texas state capitol, 2013. (Ann Harkness via Flickr)

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7 Comments

  1. Insinnergy June 9, 2015

    The rich white morons pushing this strategy don’t seem to have any issues with the following:
    1) These laws are an obvious lie and cover for the actual purpose of closing abortion clinics. Hypocrisy and lying does not seem to bother them if it serves their purpose. They know that introducing a bill that clearly stated what they were about would not work. So immoral and unethical tactics are apparently fine. I’m sure there’s some biblical passage about that….
    2) This will cause avoidable deaths and additional emotional and financial stress for vulnerable people, especially those who do not have a lot of money.
    3) This causes no problems for rich white people. Poorer people are the ones more likely to end up not getting an abortion when they need it. Wealthy people will just keep on truckin. Poorer people are also the ones who are the least able to care for a child resulting from an unintended pregnancy. So instead of an early (95% of the time) abortion, and choosing the best time to have a child, you end up with a stressed solo mother and a child likely to end up with bad outcomes.
    4) This ignores 100 years of progress in terms of women’s health and the fact that nearly every other western democracy has long since stopped listening to the religious right throwbacks when it comes to women’s safety and right to choose.

    Rural/Conservative America… dumber than a sack of hammers, and racing as fast as they can back to the 1800’s. Now also: duplicitous, immoral, unethical and irrational.

    Reply
    1. Daniel Jones June 9, 2015

      I have to protest your fourth point.

      This measure and effort does not ignore a century of progress.. it is an active effort to undo it.

    2. FireBaron June 10, 2015

      I am protesting the first point – there is nothing about “lie and cover” in the law. It’s whole raison d’etre was to close the clinics.

  2. atc333 June 10, 2015

    “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who championed the bill while he was a
    member of the state House of Representatives, praised the decision as a
    victory for women’s rights and safety.” And black is white, up is down, The Court either made a gross error in believing that claim, that this bill was passed “to protect women”, or they simply caved into their personal political beliefs.Obviously, it was the latter. What statistical proof was given to document the need for these additional requirements, The motivation was not protecting the health and well being of women. It was simply another blatant exercise in Right Wing Legislative power to further limit a woman’s right of choice.

    Reply
    1. TZToronto June 10, 2015

      They don’t need statistical evidence–because they don’t believe in statistics. Statistics are something that liberals use to support their misguided ideas, after all. No, it’s better to make and evaluate laws on the basis of gut feel. Hey, if women can’t get access to abortions, they won’t be subjected to sub-standard abortion facilities. Apparently these men [sic] don’t understand that women will get abortions with or without abortion clinics. Perhaps they think that women never got abortions before Roe v. Wade. . . . I wonder how they feel about men who don’t want to have to support a child and push their girlfriends/wives into having abortions? Maybe if it’s the man who wants it, then it’s OK.

  3. latebloomingrandma June 10, 2015

    It boggles the mind to figure out the conservative way of doing things. First-hamstring the abortion clinics, limit access and/or put them out of business. Simultaneously, get rid of Planned parenthood which would be able to give instruction to prevent the unwanted pregnancy in the first place. Next, do NOT expand Medicaid under Obamacare, because -you know–Obama. Newborns and small children and their mothers may get sick, or kids may be born sickly. . Do not do anything to expand early childhood education, childcare assistance, because people should get jobs. Never mind that women can’t take their infants and toddlers to work. Since they are too lazy to work, why give them food stamps? It just teaches dependence on the evil gubmint. When they finally get to school, these children may be malnourished, lack discipline, be behind on many metrics of development. Now put them in a substandard school, because no one wants to raise taxes to improve schools. Give them a lousy unhealthy lunch. And them wonder why we have troubled teens and young adults, if they get to adulthood without getting shot. If we heard this about another country in the world, we might be talking about a failed state. Texas is filled with the haves and have-nots.

    Reply
  4. Eleanore Whitaker June 12, 2015

    Some Americans are beginning to realize Big Rich Texas, That Whole Other Country is too rich and too other country for our American tastes.

    This is the state that is No. 1 in air, water and soil pollution that forces the rest of us to pay for oil spill fines and pollution cleanup our states are not responsible for and TX, OK, ND and Alaska are.

    They are responsible for the glut of illegals because, as always, they say one thing and do another. Who gets in on $50 billion in 2 decades for border protection and then passes laws allowing the hiring of illegals? Texas …Big Rich Texas That Whole Other Country that lives off tax dollars the rest of the states fork over.

    Reply

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