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The 5th Circuit, in allowing Texas to close all but eight abortion clinics statewide, resulting in the nearest clinic being a 150 mile drive for many, Texas is taking the lead in restricting a women's reproductive rights. Many will say options are still available, they are simply improving safety and all that. But most recognize what the real intent of the new law is.
Stay tuned folks cause it ain't over till it's over
msnbc - The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday allowed Texas to begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but eight abortion facilities in the nation’s second-largest state. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the law is poised to have the most devastating impact on abortion access of any such restriction across the country.
Under the law’s force, which will close 13 clinics, one out of six Texan women seeking an abortion will now live more than 150 miles from the nearest clinic. A lower court judge had previously ruled on August 28 that the law was unconstitutional, because it “would operate for a significant number of women in Texas just as drastically as a complete ban on abortion.” But in Thursday’s ruling, the three-judge panel in New Orleans said the law would not impose an “undue burden,” staying the district court decision as the state appeals.
In the past year, about half of Texas’s clinics that provide abortion have already closed, since a separate portion of the law was allowed to go into effect by the Fifth Circuit and then the Supreme Court. The provision at issue in the most recent ruling requires all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers, or expensive mini-hospitals that cost over $1 million to construct.
“Today’s ruling has gutted Texas women’s constitutional rights and access to critical reproductive health care and stands to make safe, legal abortion essentially disappear overnight,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented clinics against the law.
Lauren Bean, spokeswoman for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, said in a statement, “This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women.”
The law in question was famously filibustered by Wendy Davis in June 2013, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry subsequently convened another special session to pass it anyway. It also includes an unconstitutional ban on abortion after 20 weeks (which has not been challenged in court) and restrictions on medication abortion (which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling on an Arizona version of the law, said defied medical evidence and was an undue burden on women).
All eight of the clinics that can comply with the ambulatory surgical requirements are in major cities, leaving rural women with few options, and none south of San Antonio. In recent months, Planned Parenthood has announced new ambulatory surgical centers in Dallas and San Antonio.
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