Texas Groups Respond to 5th Circuit Court Reversal of Abortion Law
Late Thursday night on All Hallow's Eve, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an injunction on House Bill 2, the abortion law that would block access to healthcare to a third of all Texas women. Earlier in the week on Monday, District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that part of House Bill 2 was unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on women who seek the procedure. This injunction was reversed on Thursday by the 5th Circuit, allowing for the bill to go into effect almost immediately.
The Texas Tribune reported on Friday:
"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."
Below are press statements from:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- The National Council of Jewish Women
- Whole Women's Health
- Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
- NARAL Texas
American Civil Liberties Union:
“Last week’s court decision allowing this extreme measure to take effect has already begun to hit the state of Texas like a tsunami, taking away vital health services from women,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The women of Texas are counting on the Supreme Court to ensure they have access to the care they need.”
"Over the last couple of days, women who made the complex and deeply personal decision to have an abortion showed up at their doctor’s appointment and could not get a safe and legal medical procedure that has been their constitutionally protected right for 40 years. We’re asking the Supreme Court to stop Texas’ dangerous and extreme law from taking effect because your rights — your very ability to make your own medical decisions — should not depend on your zip code,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:
“The decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the new Texas anti-abortion law is appalling. The law requires clinics providing abortion services to use only doctors who have admitting privileges to nearby hospitals. The requirement is onerous, completely unnecessary, and opposed by medical bodies. In many locations it is impossible to meet. The court’s action will force one-third of Texas clinics providing abortion services to close. Women who live in major population centers including the cities of Fort Worth, Harlingen, Killeen, Lubbock, McAllen, and Waco will be left without access to clinics. Indeed making abortion inaccessible is the point of the law, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry has stated."
Whole Women's Health:
Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO, Founder and President of Whole Woman's Health stated:
"We are devastated by the Appellate Court ruling. By not upholding the admitting privileges injunction, the courts have given us no choice but to roll out our contingency plans for the discontinuation of abortion services in our McAllen, Fort Worth, and San Antonio facilities effective immediately. This is heartbreaking for us on many levels. Women who need our care will now have nowhere to turn and the staff and physicians in our clinics now face furlough and likely unemployment. This law affects real people, real lives and real families."