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The cost of defending HB2

It was quite expensive.

Texas could be on the hook for more than $4.5 million as part of its failed legal battle to defend its 2013 abortion restrictions, which the U.S. Supreme struck down as unconstitutional in June.

The Center for Reproductive Rights late Friday filed its request for that amount in attorney’s fees and other expenses incurred in the lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, which required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like standards and forced doctors at those clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles away. In a lawsuit brought by the New York-based organization on behalf of Texas abortion providers, the Supreme Court overturned those provisions on a 5-3 vote.

Because the abortion providers were the prevailing party in the federal lawsuit, the court has allowed the Center for Reproductive Rights and other attorneys who worked on the case to ask to recover costs for the lawsuit. The state is expected to file its response by Nov. 4, and the judge who oversaw the case — U.S. district judge Lee Yeakel — will decide if the abortion providers’ lawyers will be awarded anything.

“Time and again, politicians in Texas have proven to be as reckless with taxpayer dollars as they are with the health and well-being of the people they serve,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement.

This does not include the cost in time and materials for AG staffers in this, but for the most part I don’t consider that an extra expense, since these are employees and would be getting paid anyway. Let’s be clear that there’s a zero percent chance that the state pays that amount. Judge Yeakel will pick some smaller amount, taking the state’s objections into consideration if they have merit, and then the state will appeal. That may yield a smaller amount if they’re lucky, and it may wind up backfiring on them since the cost of the appeal will be taken into account as well. One way or the other, the final figure will be different. Whatever it winds up being, it will still be money wasted. The process begins in earnest when the state files its response, which is due November 4. Newsdesk and Texas Monthly have more.

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One Comment

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    What a pathetic waste of tax dollars. I propose that the budget for the governor’s office and the Texas Legislature be cut commensurate with the money spent harassing abortion clinics. Maybe they could save on the electric bill by turning the a/c off, have the governor and legislature do their own bathroom cleaning, etc.