Texas abortion providers filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday seeking to reinstate an injunction that blocked the application of a state provision requiring doctors who provide abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges.
U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled on October 28 that the Texas TRAP law was unconstitutional and barred its application. The state immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit and requested a stay of Judge Yeakel’s decision in order to allow the law to go forward. A three-judge panel granted the state’s request on Thursday, setting the law into effect. As a direct result, 12 abortion clinics were forced to close in the state, and already, over a hundred women have had appointments cancelled.
One woman who had her appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin cancelled said in an interview, “My first reaction was to feel fairly devastated, to feel like my rights were being taken away from me . . . to feel very disappointed that elected officials had the ability to make decisions about my and my fiance’s life.”
“Right now, women in vast swaths of Texas are being turned away at clinic doors because of a bogus law that attempts to do underhandedly what states cannot do directly — block women from accessing abortion services,”said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the organizations representing the Texas clinics. “We now look to the Supreme Court to protect women’s access to these essential health care services while we fight this critical court battle.”
Justice Scalia received the Texas clinics’ emergency application. The Justice has asked the state to respond to the application by November 12.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 10/29/13, 11/1/13; Texas Tribune 11/4/13; Planned Parenthood Press Release 11/4/13; SCOTUSBlog 11/4/13