Abortion Reproductive Rights

The Fifth Circuit Has Put Texas Abortion Clinics in Crisis

The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to suspend a ruling upholding harmful anti-abortion provisions from June 9, despite an emergency request filed by women’s health care providers asking the Court to “preserve abortion access for all Texas women.”

via Steve Rhodes
via Steve Rhodes

The Texas Appeals Court previously stated that forcing a woman seeking abortion care to leave the state does not pose undue burden. The ruling from earlier this month also reverses a lower court’s order blocking Texas’ admitting privileges requirement except as applied to a single doctor.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said that the June 9 ruling “put a road full of unnecessary hurdles in front of every woman in Texas who has decided to end her pregnancy… For scores of Texas women, the repercussions of this ruling will be devastating.”

Indeed, an estimated 1.3 million women of reproductive age will now live more than 100 miles from the nearest abortion clinic. This provision has already forced approximately half of the state’s abortion clinics to close their doors over the past two years. The court claimed that this is not an undue burden on Texas women, despite only seven clinics in Texas currently meeting these standards. The decision means 13 clinics are facing imminent closure, leaving only 9 in the entire state of Texas.

The women’s health care providers will now submit an emergency application to the Supreme Court of the United States, requesting the Supreme Court justices stay the Appeals Court’s June 9 ruling. This would allow the clinics to stay open while the providers ask the Supreme Court to review the case.

“As the Fifth Circuit once again turns a blind eye to the devastating consequences of Texas’ clinic shutdown law, it is imperative that the Supreme Court step in,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “No woman should be forced to cross state lines or travel hundreds of miles for essential health care.”

Media Resources: Center for Reproductive Rights Press Release 6/19/15; 6/9/15; Whole Woman’s Health et. al., Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Request 6/10/15; SCOTUS Application 6/19/15

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