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10.31.13 - (PRESS RELEASE) Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed a district court order blocking an unconstitutional provision of an anti-choice Texas law-allowing the law to take effect immediately and making safe and legal abortion services for one-third of women in Texas virtually impossible to access.
More than a dozen women's health care providers who jointly filed suit last month on behalf of their patients are currently considering options to protect women's health in face of this ruling.
The provision requires abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, forcing many doctors to immediately stop providing abortion and denying thousands of women access to safe care. In striking down the measure as unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said in his ruling on October 28 "the admitting privileges provision of House Bill 2 lacks a rational basis and places an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
"Today's decision is a disappointing failure to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas, who now face a health crisis of catastrophic proportions.
"Years of legislative attacks on women's health and rights now pose an imminent threat to send countless women back to the dark days before Roe v. Wade.
"We are committed to standing with Texas health care providers, Texas women, and our partners in taking every necessary step to end this emergency and restore the essential health care that has been unconstitutionally stripped away."
The admitting privileges provision of HB2 threatens to force at least one-third of the state's licensed health centers providing safe and legal abortion to immediately stop providing that service. Access to safe and legal abortion will be completely eliminated in vast stretches of Texas, including the cities of Fort Worth, Harlingen, Killeen, Lubbock, McAllen, and Waco.
The lawsuit, Planned Parenthood v. Abbot,was jointly filed on September 27 on behalf of more than a dozen Texas health care providers and their patients by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Texas law firm George Brothers Kincaid & Horton.