A last minute reprieve, though who knows for how long.
A federal judge on Friday struck down new requirements for Texas abortion facilities — a decision that could have shuttered all but a few abortion clinics in the state. The standards were set to go into effect Monday.
The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of several abortion providers, asking U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of the District Court for the Western District of Texas to block the last provision of House Bill 2, which would have required abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Those include minimum sizes for rooms and doorways and having pipelines for anesthesia.
The law, which was passed by the Republican-led Legislature last year, included several strict abortion regulations that are already in effect.
In his ruling, Yeakel wrote that the law’s ambulatory surgical center requirements “burdens Texas women in a way incompatible with the principles of personal freedom and privacy protected by the United States Constitution for the 40 years since Roe v. Wade.”
Advocates of abortion rights quickly celebrated Yeakel’s decision, admonishing the state’s Republican leadership for attempting to “eradicate access to safe, legal and timely abortion care.”
“There was no justification for the medically unnecessary regulations in HB2, no demonstrated problem with safety in our state’s already well-regulated abortion clinics,” said Heather Busby, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.
You can see a copy of the ruling here. The trial wrapped up two weeks ago, and I think everyone expected a ruling by yesterday. This will of course be appealed, so it’s just a matter of what the (awful) Fifth Circuit thinks and how long it takes them to do whatever it is they’ll do, with this case and the one before it. This was a good week in court for us, but it’s far from over and it can all change quickly. BOR, the AusChron, and the Current have more.