Planned Parenthood et al. v. Abbott


Primary Content

Texas passed House Bill 2 in 2013, which requires that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals and mandates a medically obsolete method of medication abortion.

Laws that require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals or to use outdated protocols when providing medication abortions are contrary to current medical standards, and the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have opposed them. These laws have no medical justification and simply deprive women of abortion care.

Admitting privileges:  The complication rate for abortion is extremely low and complications rarely require admission to a hospital. Abortion care providers already have procedures in place to ensure patient safety in the event of an emergency. Because hospitals deny admitting privileges to highly qualified doctors who provide abortions, for reasons ranging from the fact that too few of their patients will ever need hospital care to ideological opposition, such laws have the effect of shutting down clinics, and indeed, that has already happened in Texas.

Medication abortion:  Medication abortion (a combination of the medications mifepristone and misoprostol) is a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortion that can be used by women who are in the first 9 to 10 weeks of pregnancy. Women in the U.S. have been safely undergoing medication abortions since 2000, when the FDA first approved mifepristone.  In fact, one out of four women in the U.S. early enough in pregnancy to use medication abortion as an alternative to surgical abortion has chosen this method.  Since the approval of mifepristone, newer, evidence-based regimens have been proven to be safer, more effective, and less expensive.  By requiring the provision of medication abortion to follow an obsolete protocol, state politicians deny women the advantages of years of physicians’ practical experience and scientific research.  This is not only forcing outmoded health care on women, but is also an intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.


Plaintiff(s): Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, Planned Parenthood Sexual Healthcare Services, Planned Parenthood Women’s Health Center, Whole Woman’s Health, Austin Women’s Health Center, Killeen Women’s Health Center, Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, West Side Clinic, Inc., Routh Street Women’s Clinic, Houston Women’s Clinic, each on behalf of itself, its patients, and physicians, Alan Braid, M.D., Lamar Robinson, M.D., Pamela J. Richter, D.O., each on behalf of themselves and their patients. (Bolded plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights.)

Center Attorney(s): Janet Crepps

Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Planned Parenthood (Helene T. Krasnoff and Alice Clapman), ACLU Foundation Reproductive Freedom Project (Brigitte Amiri and Renée Paradis), ACLU of Texas (Rebecca L. Robertson), George Brothers Kincaid &amp, Horton LLP (R. James George, Jr., Elizabeth von Kreisler, Rico Reyes)


The Center for Reproductive Rights, along with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, filed a lawsuit challenging these provisions on behalf of eleven women’s health care providers, three physicians, and their patients.

The trial court ruled that the admitting privileges requirement was unconstitutional and permanently blocked it, but it largely upheld the medication abortion restriction.  On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed and lifted the injunction on the admitting privileges requirement, allowing it to take effect, with the result that many clinics in Texas have had to stop providing abortion services.  The appeals court also disagreed with the limited relief granted by the trial court on the medication abortion restriction.  The Center sought rehearing before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on April 10, 2014, the request was denied on October 9, 2014.