Key provisions of Texas pro-life law upheld by appeals court
NEW ORLEANS, LA, March 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two key provisions of Texas' hotly debated pro-life law have been upheld by an all-female panel of judges from a U.S. Appeals Court today in a ruling that invoked the notorious case of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
The panel of judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles and to follow the FDA-approved use of abortion-inducing drugs “on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman.”
“The State’s witnesses also explained that admitting–privileges requirement was needed to maintain the standard of care within the abortion practice,” the panel wrote in its 34-page opinion. “The specter of Dr. Kermit Gosnell informed the testimony of” two witnesses, they said, who “explained that the credentialing process entailed in the regulation reduces the risk that abortion patients will be subjected to woefully inadequate treatment.
A group of Texas abortion providers filed Planned Parenthood v. Gregory Abbott to challenge these aspects of H.B. 2, the bill Governor Rick Perry signed into law after a marathon filibuster by State Senator Wendy Davis earlier this summer.
The abortion giant, aided by the ACLU, did not challenge the law's limiting of abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, nor its provision requiring abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.
But it did state that the other provisions would close abortion offices and effectively deny Texas women the ability to obtain an abortion.
Late last October, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2003, struck down the law's regulations on admitting privileges, as well as amending the drug provisions.
Just three days later, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned Yeakel's decision on admitting privileges.
In November, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the Texas pro-life law's provisions to take effect while the case was being adjudicated.
A skeptical three-judge panel comprised of former Chief Justice Edith Jones, Justices Jennifer Elrod, and Catharina Haynes heard arguments about the case in January.
Their ruling allows the law to go into effect in its entirety.
“The Fifth Circuit has affirmed the efforts of pro-life leaders in Texas who cared enough to work for common-sense protections for women,” said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life. “We know that at least eight women have died of severe bacterial infection following their use of deadly, life-ending drugs when following abortion providers’ off-label recommendations. Today’s decision is a green light for other states to follow the lead of Texas and enact provisions prohibiting such misuse of dangerous abortion-inducing drugs.”
“Women in Texas will now be protected from abortion industry misuse of life-ending drugs and will be provided greater protections from deadly events inside under-regulated, under-monitored and under-supervised clinics, run by profiteers,” Dr. Yoest added. “I’m not surprised that an all-woman panel of judges understood the nuances of laws designed to protect women.”
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards vowed that she would continue to “combat these laws in the courts, and our separate political arm will mobilize voters to replace lawmakers who champion these dangerous laws in the first place.”
Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, agreed, “Texas women deserve better than to have extremist politicians endanger their health and safety by preventing them from accessing safe and legal abortion. The law is having a devastating impact on women in Texas.”
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There is no question the law has devastated the abortion industry. When its full terms go into effect on September 1, Texas may have only six abortion facilities remaining statewide. Planned Parenthood has announced it plans to build a $5 million abortion facility in San Antonio to comply with the terms of the law.
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