Federal Court blocks Texas abortion law that Wendy Davis tried to stop

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas today issued an opinion striking down two key parts of an abortion restriction that Texas passed earlier this year. Sarah Kliff writes at Wonkblog, Wendy Davis couldn’t stop a Texas abortion law. But a federal court just did.

The decision halts two key provisions of House Bill 2: A requirement
that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital
and another barring medical abortions.

"The admitting privileges provision of House Bill 2 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," U.S. District Judge
Lee Yeakel wrote in the opinion.

On the medical abortion ban, he wrote, "Although the medication
abortion provisions do not generally place an undue burden on a woman
seeking an abortion, they do if they ban a medication abortion where a
physician determines, in appropriate medical judgment, such a procedure
is necessary for the preservation of the life or health of the mother."

This is a big deal for the 12 Texas abortion providers that filed
suit against the restrictions, which were set to take effect on Oct. 29.

It's possible that this decision could ripple outside of Texas to
other states that also have laws mandating admitting privileges at
hospitals for abortion providers. The Guttmacher Institute counted three
states that required admitting privileges as of June, with another
three laws slated to take effect. This was before Texas had passed House
Bill 2, so it's not on the list.

* * *

Judge Yeakel counted the admitting privileges portion as a violation of Casey v. Planned Parenthood,
a Supreme Court case from the 1990s that barred abortion restrictions
that place an "undue burden" on the woman. This a key opinion in
abortion law, which essentially offers a road map for the ways states
are, and aren't, allowed to restrict abortion access.

"The court finds that the hospital admitting-privileges provision of
the act fails both prongs of the undue-burden test with regard to any
woman seeking an abortion previability, therefore, the court concludes
that Planned Parenthood's facial challenge to this provision may be
maintained and the provision is unconstitutional," he writes.

You can read the full decision on House Bill 2 Here.

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