Federal Judge Blocks Portion of New Texas Abortion Law
Just days before it was set to go into law, a federal judged overturned several Texas abortion restrictions that would have resulted in the closing of a dozen clinics in the state.
The law, known as HB2, was signed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2013 and would have reduced the amount of abortion clinics in the state from 19 to 7, down from more than 40 from 2012. This is the second time groups have sued over HB2, with Judge Lee Yeakel siding with the groups. The portion of the bill that Yeakel blocked would have required clinics to maintain hospital-level standards including operating rooms and air filtration systems. Though many believe these restrictions to be for the benefit of patients, Judge Yeakel felt it was designed to eliminate existing clinics,
The overall effect of the provisions is to create an impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion,
Without the blocking of the bill, the only remaining clinics in the state would have been in major cities, with none in the western half of the state. For women in El Paso, the nearest option is in New Mexico, an alternative that supporters of the bill urged Yeakel to consider.
Attorneys for the state have disagreed that such a bill would burden women in need of a clinic’s services, saying that 90% of Texas women would still live within 150 miles of a remaining clinic. Texas Attorney General and Governor hopeful Greg Abbott has vowed to seek an immediate appeal of Judge Yeakel’s decision. A spokeswoman for Abbott has said that the state will be seeking relief 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans, the same court that upheld HB2 once before.
via Huffington Post