US Court of Appeals gives Texas a Historic Pro-Life Victory Again
The all-female three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued the much-anticipated ruling about two provisions of House Bill 2, the Pro-Life omnibus bill that passed the Texas Legislature last summer. The law has been in effect since October while the court considered the constitutionality of the two parts against which the abortion industry filed suit. The court rejected Planned Parenthood’s argument that HB2 imposes an “undue burden” on abortionists, abortion facilities, and women seeking abortion.
The court upheld sections of the law that (1) require abortionists secure admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and (2) that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug be administered according to FDA protocol.
The justices addressed those abortionists who may be caught between the law’s implementation and the ruling by allowing a few abortionists to commit abortions while they await word of privileges. The court only allowed this for abortion doctors who applied for admitting privileges prior to the law taking effect and are still waiting on a reply from local hospital.
The court asserted that higher standards for an abortionist are, in fact, justified,
During these proceedings, Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.
Planned Parenthood may have overestimated their broad and overarching undue burden arguments. The justices of the Fifth Circuit panel wrote in their opinion that Planned Parenthood's case required evidence that could only be provided after the law has been sufficiently applied. In other words, Planned Parenthood would have to present the court with a sufficient number of documented cases in which the provisions of HB2 caused a severe impediment to a woman seeking an abortion.
Texas Right to Life celebrates this victory to uphold the lifesaving provisions in HB2. This is the third time in recent years that this Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Pro-Life policies challenged by abortion advocates. The same court upheld the 2011 Texas Sonogram Law and a policy that kept abortion providers and Planned Parenthood out of the taxpayer-funded Women’s Health Program.