Less than a week after a federal court upheld two new Texas abortion requirements already in effect, abortion providers announced plans to file a second lawsuit targeting additional regulations that the Republican-led Legislature passed in July.
The suit that the group plans to file Wednesday in a federal court seeks a court order to block the regulations — which take effect in September — that require abortion facilities to meet the same structural standards as ambulatory surgical centers.
The new abortion regulations have been blamed for the closure of about a dozen abortion clinics in the state, which currently has 24 active abortion clinics. The upcoming lawsuit alleges that unless the remaining clinics rebuild from the ground up and become essentially mini-hospitals, most could shutter. That would leave fewer than 10 facilities.
“There is no question that the politicians who passed this law intended this as the final blow in their assault on women’s constitutional right and ability to safely and legally end a pregnancy in Texas,” said Nancy Northrup, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing several abortion providers in the suit.
Legislators who backed the regulations and abortion opponents said that the rules are intended to protect women’s health and that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest the rules create an undue burden on the majority of Texas women attempting to access abortion.
The upcoming lawsuit will also ask the court to exempt the Whole Woman’s Health clinic in McAllen, which recently closed because its physicians couldn’t obtain hospital-admitting privileges, and a Reproductive Services clinic in El Paso from a rule that took effect in November. That rule requires physicians to obtain hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion facility. The abortion providers claim that the facilities should be able to continue operating because the clinics are “among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities,” according to the group’s press release on the suit.
Can we just cut straight to the part where the Fifth Circuit overturns the district court and allows the law to be implemented as written? Not that I want this to happen, of course, but it’s what I expect at this point, and I can’t take the mood swing any more. Besides, we all know that Edith Jones already has an opinion written, she just needs to fill in a few blanks in her template. Why waste time? Trail Blazers, the Observer, and RH Reality Check have more.