The state of Texas is planning on filing an emergency appeal of a controversial ruling by a federal judge which declared that elements of the state’s new abortion law are unconstitutional and cannot take effect today as planned.
The Blaze is reporting that the decision came in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers who argued that two requirements in the new law, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, are unconstitutional.
The first of the requirements would force abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius of an abortion clinic in order to insure than the doctor could continue to care for any woman injured during a botched abortion procedure. The second is a requirement that doctors follow the Food and Drug Administration’s original label for an abortion-inducing drug rather than the current label which makes things easier for doctors but less safe for women.
Planned Parenthood claims that both requirements limit a woman’s access to abortion.
Specifically, they cite the hospital privilege requirement as having the potential of shutting down a third of the abortion clinics in the state. This is because hospitals generally want their doctors to perform other surgical procedures in the hospital or, in the case of religiously-affiliated groups, will not allow abortionists to practice in their facilities. Other hospitals may prohibit abortionists from practicing at their facilities because they’re afraid of protests.
Label changes to the controversial RU-486 abortion drug have long been a bone of contention between the abortion industry and the right-to-life movement. For instance, doctors who prescribe RU-486, which can only be administered up to 49 days of pregnancy, are no longer required to conduct or read an ultrasound to determine the exact age of the fetus. The original label stipulated that only physicians who had the surgical training to handle incomplete abortions or serious complications sometimes associated with the drug, were able to prescribe it. This requirement was also dropped off of the current label.
District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the provision requiring doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the State in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her,” Yeakel wrote.
He also blocked part of the law that deals with RU-486, but allowed restrictions on the same issue to move forward such as those requiring strict use under Food and Drug Administration protocol and mandatory follow-up visits.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was disappointed in the ruling after arguing that the law protects women and the life of the unborn. He is expected to file an emergency appeal of Yeakel’s order with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The 5th Circuit is known as one of the most conservative in the country. If it overturns Yeakel’s ruling, it is very likely that Planned Parenthood and their allies in the abortion industry will appeal it to the U. S. Supreme Court.
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