The July 2013 Texas law requires that abortion doctors must gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and that abortions in Texas must be performed in facilities that meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. It also limits abortions to twenty weeks gestation and requires a doctor to personally administer abortion-inducing drugs to the patient rather than prescribe them remotely. In August, just days before the ambulatory surgical facility portion of the law was to take effect, a lower court judge issued an injunction preventing the state from enforcing it. Many clinics have already had to close for not being able to meet the requirements of the law and of the 20 or so abortion clinics left in Texas, only seven meet the facility requirements to remain open.
Most abortion clinics in Texas must close after appeals court ruling
Nearly two-thirds of the abortion clinics remaining in Texas must close immediately after a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the state may enforce a law that requires those facilities to be built to the same standards as hospitals.
That law — part of an omnibus bill with several measures that chip away at women’s access to abortion — was struck down in late August as unconstitutional by an Austin federal judge, who put it on hold while the state appeals.
But on Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans tossed out U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel’s August injunction, which allowed the estimated 20 abortion clinics in Texas to continue operating during the appeals process. Without that injunction, only seven clinics will be left.
In its ruling, the 5th Circuit said the “central” question it considered was “whether the state has shown a likelihood of success” in fighting Yeakel’s ruling “regarding whether the ambulatory surgical center provision is unconstitutional. We conclude that it has.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office issued this statement: “This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women.”
Republican Greg Abbott is running for governor against Democrat Wendy Davis, the state senator who gained a national spotlight as her filibuster effort to kill one of the nation’s toughest abortion bills went for 11 straight hours. The filibuster stalled but didn’t stop the legislation from being passed and her anti-abortion opposition has been referring to her with the unflattering title “Abortion Barbie” ever since. With just five weeks left until the election, Abbott is leading the race at 49 percent to Davis’40 percent.