In July, Texas governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry signed one of the most restrictive laws on women’s access to abortion in the history of the state. The law would have eliminated abortion services in a majority of the state’s licensed medical facilities, eliminated abortion all together in a pregnancy over 20 weeks and require doctors to have hospital admitting privileges.
But US District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked two main parts of the bill Monday, according to The Washington Post. Yeakel ruled one section put an undue burden on women and another was unconstitutional. This victory comes after a legal challenge from 11 abortion clinics and three doctors, which was filed last month.
The judge disagreed with the law’s requirement that doctors have admitting privileges in hospitals within 30 miles of their clinic and the requirement forcing women to have abortions in surgical clinics rather than taking abortion drugs at their homes.
“[Admitting privileges] 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,” Yeakel wrote in his ruling.
Regarding in-home drug-induced abortions the judge wrote, “[The 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.”
“The women in Texas have had a huge victory today,” said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union and a member of the trial team, in an interview.
Conservatives and anti–abortion groups haven’t been able to kill Roe versus Wade, which has weathered repeated challenges all the way up to the Supreme Court in D.C., so they have taken the battle on women’s reproductive rights to the state level.
Texas is not alone. So far, 43 laws have been passed to restrict abortions in 17 states.
In addition to the fight going on over abortion rights in Texas Jessica Mason Pieklo wrote in The Rolling Stone about the willingness of conservative lawmakers to sneak attachments restricting abortions onto any bill they can get away with “under political darkness”:
Ohio, anti-choice lawmakers attached to their two-year budget provisions that will defund Planned Parenthood clinics, strip funding from rape crisis centers that provide any information about abortion, reallocate funding to religiously affiliated “crisis pregnancy centers” and, most disturbingly, mandate that doctors provide women seeking abortions information about the presence of a “fetal heartbeat” prior to performing the procedure. In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker made good use of the 4th of July holiday to quietly sign a host of new abortion restrictions in his state before being stopped, again, by a federal court.
And president of NARAL Ilyse Hogue points out “the greater the restriction, the more willing conservative lawmakers are to cheat to win.”
Texas attorney general Greg Abbott immediately filed an appeal and the case is expected to end up in the US Supreme Court.
Quote from Playboy Magazine Circa 1980: “If men had babies, abortion would be a sacrament.”