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Texas Law Sharply Curbs Access To Abortion, Clinics Tell Supreme Court

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Texas Law Sharply Curbs Access To Abortion, Clinics Tell Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Texas abortion regulations do not improve medical safety and reduce access to the procedure, women’s healthcare providers told the U.S. Supreme Court as part of their appeal challenging a 2013 state law that imposed new requirements on abortion clinics.

Their brief, filed late Monday in one of the top court’s most closely watched cases this session, said the law’s requirements would force the closure of more than 75 percent of facilities that perform abortions in the state and prevent new ones from opening.

Lawyers for Whole Woman’s Health and other clinics argued that law imposes an undue burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies, in violation of Supreme Court decisions protecting abortion rights.

The healthcare providers are challenging a state law that forces Texas clinics offering abortions to have hospital-grade facilities and requires physicians to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km).

A federal trial judge declared the requirements an unconstitutional burden on women’s access to abortion, but the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed that decision.

The new appeal will be heard by the nine justices on March 2, and a ruling in the case is expected by the end of June, likely evoking social, religious and political tensions ahead of the November U.S. election.

Texas state officials defending the regulations have until the end of January to respond to the challengers. In previous filings, they have stressed that U.S. states have an interest in protecting the health of a woman seeking an abortion and urged courts to defer to legislative authority.

The Supreme Court has long been divided on abortion rights, which date to a 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, declaring that women have a constitutional right to end a pregnancy. Its justices last took up an abortion dispute in 2007, when they upheld a ban on a late-term procedure critics called “partial birth abortion” in a 5-4 vote.

Lawyers for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the clinics, in their filing said that more than 40 clinics operated in Texas before the 2013 law. Afterward, nearly half closed. If the costly hospital-grade requirements stand, many more would shut down, they said.

The clinics said complications from abortion are rare and that the law provides no health benefits, adding that Texas singled out abortion for heightened medical regulation “even though it is safer than many other common medical procedures.”

The case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 15-274.

(Reporting by Washington Newsroom; Editing by Susan Heavey and Cynthia Osterman)

Photo: Physician’s assistant Celena Pollock works at Nuestra Clinica del Valle in San Juan, Texas. Women’s healthcare providers have filed a suit with the Supreme Court alleging that the restrictions place an undue burden on women and violate the law.

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16 Comments

  1. Lynda Groom December 29, 2015

    I would love to believe that the Court would start listening to the majority of the citizens of this nation, but I believe in reality. The Court will continue to follow the path outlined by their party affiliations.

    Reply
    1. Otto Greif December 29, 2015

      The Supreme Court isn’t supposed to listen to the majority of citizens, it’s supposed to rule based on the law and Constitution.

      1. charleo1 December 29, 2015

        Very good Otto! Arguing in the affirmative for Constitutionally protected Civil Rights over the whims of public opinion. Against unconstitutional mandates, such as voter approved changes in a State’s Constitution that prohibit the State’s authority to recognize any marriage not consisting of one man and one woman. Don’t you think it seems the Right applies the Constitution when it suits their political advantage? Loves the Second Amend, but ignores, or says it’s up to someone or something else, like the State, or the people, when it comes to the 4th Amendment’s Right to privacy?

        1. Otto Greif December 29, 2015

          You might want to read Scalia’s Fourth Amendment opinions.

          1. charleo1 December 29, 2015

            Sure, here’s some of his Right Wing selective opinions outlined.

            http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/antonin-scalia-fighter-privacy-rights-fourth-amendment

          2. Otto Greif December 30, 2015

            Now read those.

          3. latebloomingrandma December 30, 2015

            Seems like Scalia likes privacy for electronic gadgets, but not women’s bodies. While the 4th amendment does not include the word”privacy”, it does state that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons——” What could possibly be more personal than one’s own bodily parts and organs?

          4. charleo1 December 30, 2015

            Scalia, a dinosauric knuckle dragger, doesn’t believe in the concept of a living Constitution. Has for example opined he doesn’t agree that the 14th Amend. applied to Brown Vs. Board of Ed. that overturned the shameful Plessy V. Ferguson decision, because he said, they weren’t specifically addressing the separate but equal equation when the 14th was adopted. So, I guess we may assume he forgot to read that first part of the Constitution that begins, “In order to form a more perfect union…” Scalia is essentially just more residual stench from the failed Reagan experiment. And also a reminder why it’s so important to vote!!!

      2. Lynda Groom December 30, 2015

        Indeed, and it would be nice it that was actually what they accomplished. Partisan politics is alive and well in the Court as the history of the Roberts Court indicates.

  2. 1standlastword December 30, 2015

    All I can say is this is going to lead to a lot of unwanted pregnancies between kissing cousins, brothers and sisters, ministers and other men’s wives, girlfriends and the like.

    And when Texas becomes the nations leader in STDs the governor will have some splain’n to do!

    The worst–if all the above mentioned isn’t bad enough–is this is what the Evil- Angelicals do when the have their “religious freedom” made into law!

    They use it to make WAR on secular citizens.

    You’d think…that they think… they’re going to go to hell for other peoples’ so called carnal sins !

    Their accusation that there is a “war on religion” really means “we don’t have enough freedom to deprive other people of their freedom.

    I wish there REALLY was a war on the Religious Right!

    I’d like to stand them up against the Radical Islamist.

    Give them Texas for a battlefield.

    They already have the guns and IS, the Taliban, AQ, Boko Haram, and the rest of their fellow radical religious maniacs can have a big long bloody game of ‘Let’s fight the crusades again’! While the rest of us rational folks live in peace and tolerant harmony

    Reply
    1. oldfed December 30, 2015

      CA is nations leader in aids and stds

      1. Daniel Max Ketter December 30, 2015

        My girl Kristy got venereal disease in California at a biker bar in Fresno. She must have been popular at that bar.

      2. oldfed December 30, 2015

        Linda Rae Glidden is nations leader in aids and stds

  3. oldfed December 30, 2015

    Why wouldn’t a baby killing mill not want a doctor that has admitting privileges? Far to often an emergency exists and the patient has to be taken to a hospital not to mention the babies that are born alive

    Reply
    1. Daniel Max Ketter December 30, 2015

      A woman has a right to choose whether to abort a fetus, just like I have a right to abort a boil off of my fat keyster. Why my Linda Rae had to abort a fetus when she cheated on me that time at the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce meeting.

    2. Daniel Max Ketter January 1, 2016

      But old fed is now dan m ketter, a drafdodging ex desk clerk with Ford motors, now a full time military impostor with an ugly wifey Linda Rae

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