Texas Legal Battle Begins TodayPosted: October 21, 2013
The legal battle against the most recent wave of extremism in Texas begins this week. Planned Parenthood v. Abbott will be heard before a federal judge today, as a number of women’s health clinics and civil rights groups challenge the omnibus anti-choice legislation passed in the state legislature this summer.
HB2, the legislation in question, was the result of three special legislative sessions in Texas, in which extreme officials made it clear that restricting women’s healthcare access was a top priority. The Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all opposed the bill, along with the Texas abortion providers who have now joined together to sue the state, saying it would put Texans’ lives at risk by mandating a potentially less effective dosage of the medication abortion regimen and unnecessarily limiting the ability of doctors to perform safe, legal procedures across Texas. Proponents of the bill claimed that they were looking out for women’s safety, although it is unclear exactly how they plan to do so while imposing medically unnecessary restrictions and largely eliminating access to safe healthcare options.
The current lawsuit is only attempting to tackle the most immediately dangerous portions of the legislation. While the whole bill is indeed detrimental to women’s health, the number of restrictions was simply too great to challenge all at once. Using protections granted by the 14th Amendment, Planned Parenthood and other groups will seek an injunction against the portions of the bill set to go into effect at the end of October, including a requirement that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and restrictions on medically-induced abortions. Texas already imposes strict standards on abortion clinics, harsher than even those required of surgical centers.
If the law is allowed to go into effect, the result will be devastating for Texas women. Texas is already considered one of the worst states for women after cutting two-thirds of its family planning funding in 2011, a decision that closed over 100 women’s health clinics and eliminated preventative services across the state that used to help prevent thousands of unwanted pregnancies. Under the restrictive reign of HB2, it is estimated that only four cities in the entire state will still maintain access to abortion services and over 22,000 women will be denied the procedure.
Similar laws in other states have recently been struck down for their violation of constitutional rights, but the 5th Circuit Court, where the Texas case is currently being heard, is notoriously conservative. Sadly, the health of Texas women has become subject to an extremist agenda, and anti-choice politicians have made the restriction of women’s healthcare access a top priority.