Court of Appeals Reverses Decision on Hospital Privileges
The justices on the Fifth Circuit reversed Yeakel’s finding that hospital admitting privileges are unconstitutional. They said that while the cost of abortions may increase, and the number of abortion doctors in the state may decrease, the section does not impose an undue burden on the right to an abortion.
The court also found there was a rational basis for the law. Requiring admitting privileges allows hospitals to ensure the quality of doctors who are caring for patients and performing abortions.
As to the medicated abortion provision, the Fifth Circuit found the health exemption granted by the District Judge was too broad. The appellate court narrowed it to situations where the woman was between 50 and 63 days into her pregnancy. Medical evidence revealed these women could be harmed if the protocol were strictly enforced.
Reaction to the Appellate Court’s Decision
Naturally, Governor Perry and the Attorney General were pleased with the decision. Perry said, “Today’s decision affirms our rights to protect the unborn and the health of the women of Texas. We will continue doing everything we can to protect a culture of life in our state.”
Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said, “The court’s 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.”
Planned Parenthood issued a statement saying abortion will be no longer available in vast areas of Texas and vowed the fight is not over. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said, “This restriction clearly violates Texas women’s constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide.”
Texas Abortion Law: Going Into Effect Immediately
It was anticipated the requirement that doctors need to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals will go into effect on November 1, 2013. The decision of the Fifth Circuit will remain in place until a full trial is held. The trial is expected to begin in January.
Decoded Science. Texas Abortion Bill Fails to Pass Due to Filibuster and ‘Unruly Mob.’ (2013). Accessed November 1, 2013.
Fox News. Federal appeals court reinstates most of Texas’ abortion restrictions. (2013). Accessed November 1, 2013.
ABA Journal. 5th Circuit allows Texas abortion law to take effect; one-third of abortion clinics may close. (2013). Accessed November 1, 2013.
SCOTUS Blog. Planned Parenthood et. al. v. Gregory Abbott et. al. (2013). Accessed November 1, 2013.