The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments against District Judge Lee Yeakel’s injunction that stalls the implementation of HB 2, the historic Pro-Life law that passed our state legislature in 2013. Last month, Yeakel ruled in favor of the Whole Woman’s Health abortion chain, stating that the ambulatory surgical center (ASC) portion of HB 2 could not take effect, nodding to exaggerated claims that the ASC provision combined with other provisions of HB 2 would make abortion less accessible to pregnant women in Texas. In doing so, Yeakel jeopardized the health and safety of pregnant women.
The Office of the Attorney General responded quickly to the disappointing ruling and filed an appeal to the injunction at the Fifth Circuit. Abbott requested that the Fifth Circuit conduct a hearing to determine whether Yeakel’s injunction should be lifted so that the safety provisions of HB 2 could be implemented and enforced.
The state’s attorneys drew attention to the unsubstantiated “evidence” proposed by the plaintiff in Whole Woman’s Health v. Lackey, emphasizing that their statistics and numbers were unverified hearsay and inflammatory projections. The justices today questioned that evidence, pressing witnesses for more facts than what had been presented to Judge Yeakel.
Justice Elrod sought verification on the number of women who would allegedly be without abortion access in the early months of enforcement of the ASC standards, making known that she would only rule on facts, rather than politically motivated hypotheses.