A new Texas law that gutted the state’s abortion industry, leaving only a handful of about eight operating abortion facilities running where there had been as many as 40 in recent years, has been upheld by a federal appeals court, although with exceptions for a business in a remote part of the vast state.
Kristan Hawkins, head of Students for Life of America, called it a “huge step toward protecting the health and safety of women throughout Texas.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upheld “common sense regulations demanding that abortionists obtain admitting privileges at hospitals in order for their facilities to remain open,” Hawkins said.
“By forcing abortion facilities to abide by this law, the court correctly recognized that safety standards trump political rhetoric demanding access to abortion, however unsafe and subpar it may be,” she said. “There is no right to an unsafe abortion and for abortion advocates to promote a lower standard of care for women just to ensure the sacred cow of abortion remains intact is morally indefensible.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom joined with Life Legal Defense Foundation, Texas Center for Defense of Life, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Donna Harrison, M.D., Abby Johnson, And Then There Were None, Carol Everett and The Heidi Group to file a friend-of-the-court brief last year.
“Texans should have full freedom to prioritize women’s health and safety over the bottom line of abortionists,” said ADF Legal Counsel Natalie Decker. “The 5th Circuit was on firm ground to uphold this law. Its requirements are common-sense protections that ensure the maximum amount of safety for women. Abortionists should not be exempt from medical requirements that other doctors are required to follow.”
The court ruling affirmed a provision that requires abortion businesses to meet the same health and safety standards as “ambulatory surgical centers” and another provision granting abortionists admitting privileges at a local hospital, in case of complications.
The judges wrote “the state truly intends that women only receive an abortion in facilities that can provide the highest quality of care and safety – the stated legitimate purpose of H.B. 2.”
They said the plaintiffs “bore the burden of proving that H.B. 2 was enacted with an improper purpose.”
“They failed to proffer competent evidence contradicting the legislature’s statement of a legitimate purpose for H.B. 2.”
LifeNews reported the law is credited with cutting abortions 13 percent, “saving an estimated 9,900 babies from abortion.”
The case was brought by abortion interests, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, after the state adopted the limits.
The appeals ruling granted exemptions for the two requirements for a center in McAllen, because of the distance to other abortion businesses.
The case is expected to move up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Texas has struck a decisive blow for women’s health and safety against a predatory abortion industry,” Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest told LifeNews. “A largely under-monitored, under-supervised and secretive abortion industry tells women ‘trust but don’t verify that our clinics are clean and safe.’ No longer should women be abandoned to self-serving and false assurances from an industry that puts profits over people.”
WND reported earlier when the U.S. Supreme Court blocked key parts of the law temporarily while the 5th Circuit reviewed it. At that time, it was reported that the law left only eight abortion businesses in Texas open.
That ruling came after the appeals court said the law could be enforced while it was being challenged in the courts. It followed a decision by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel that suspended the new requirements.
The restrictions, among the toughest in the nation, were supported by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott when he was the state’s attorney general.
“The district court erred by substituting its own judgment for that of the legislature,” the appeals panel said.