Court Ruling Prompts 9 Texas Abortion Providers to End Services
After the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday to lift an injunction on new abortion regulations in Texas, at least nine abortion facilities — about a quarter of the state's abortion providers — have discontinued abortion services in light of the new law.
The court’s decision is “having an immediate impact starting today, and what that impact is depends on each woman and where she lives,” said Sarah Wheat, vice president for community affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. Planned Parenthood has discontinued abortion services at four Texas locations: Fort Worth, Austin, Waco and Lubbock. Wheat said staff members began calling patients to cancel appointments Thursday evening soon after the appellate ruling came down.
“Depending on that patient and what her circumstances are, we’re either referring her to another health center in that same community or telling her which cities she’ll have to travel to,” Wheat said.
A three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit court lifted a permanent injunction placed on the abortion regulations Monday by a federal district court. In a written opinion, the panel argued that the state was likely to succeed in its legal arguments. The court scheduled an expedited hearing for January 2014.
The appellate court's decision overrules U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling that a provision in House Bill 2 that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital imposed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure. Additionally, Yeakel ruled that it would be unconstitutional for the state to require physicians to follow federal standards for drug-induced abortions if a physician determined it would be safer for the woman to use a common evidence-based protocol.