October 3, 2014 7:34 am -

Because of this appeals court ruling, 13 Texas abortion clinics will have to close immediately.


The decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, will have a far-reaching effect on abortion services in Texas, lawyers for abortion providers said. The ruling gave Texas permission to require all abortion clinics in the state to meet the same building, equipment and staffing standards as hospital-style surgical centers, standards that abortion providers said were unnecessary and costly, but that the state argued improved patient safety.

Judge Rejects Texas Stricture on AbortionsAUG. 29, 2014
Abortion Providers in Texas Press Judge to Block Portions of New LawAUG. 4, 2014
Thirteen clinics whose facilities do not meet the new standards were to be closed overnight, leaving Texas — a state with 5.4 million women of reproductive age, ranking second in the country — with eight abortion providers, all in Houston, Austin and two other metropolitan regions. No abortion facilities will be open west or south of San Antonio…

The “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, the president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights, whose lawyers were part of the legal team representing the clinics that sued the state.[su_csky_ad]

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

67 responses to Court Ruling Shuts Down Most Texas Abortion Clinics

  1. KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker October 3rd, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Conservatives are working very hard to push women’s reproductive healthcare into the back alleys again.

  2. Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 8:15 am

    If 8 providers found a way to stay open then the other 13 could do the same.

    • NW10 October 3rd, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Or maybe the “small government” right wing could butt out of women’s uterus’s. What a novel concept!

      • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 8:36 am

        Requiring abortion clinics to meet certain standards helps women in the long run. Do you want no standards and more Gosnells?

        • NMAXXS October 3rd, 2014 at 8:39 am

          Only a doofus would think that protecting women was the goal of the Texas legislature. Another tissue for you…

          • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 9:41 am

            It will protect women whether it was the goal or not.

          • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 9:52 am

            No it won’t protect women. It will do the opposite it will force women to take matters into their own hands and deal with things privately without a doctor. That can sometimes lead to death, of course that may be what the religious right wants. If you are poor or different from the religious right they want you to go away, they don’t want to help, unless they can shove their beliefs down your throat.

          • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 9:56 am

            The law “helps women in the long run”. The 13 closed clinics need to comply with the law and re-open.

          • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 10:01 am

            The financing isn’t there. When they passed the law they offered no path to reopening with financial help. The law was designed to hurt not help. If it was designed to help financing in the forms of grants or loans would have been made available to the clinics to help them move or comply. This is republican right-wing big government interfering in the peoples rights to healthcare.

        • jasperjava October 3rd, 2014 at 9:29 am

          These were unnecessarily high standards, not designed to help women, but to hurt them.

          Only a sexist misogynist would fail to see this as another GOP attack in their ongoing war against women.

        • Anomaly 100 October 3rd, 2014 at 11:46 am

          Shutting them down prompts back alley abortions and coat hangers. That’s obviously OK with you. Women died in excruciating pain while demonized by the religious right.

          • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 1:23 pm

            I’m pro-life, I don’t want abortions clinics closed.

        • Carla Akins October 3rd, 2014 at 11:55 am

          Gosnell was a killer and even if he had had a clinic with new requirements, it wouldn’t have changed the situation. Abortions are the safest in clinic medical procedure. It’s far safer than carrying a birth to term. Or having your wisdom teeth pulled, or removal of a mole to breast augmentation/reduction, liposuction, hernia repairs or knee arthroscopy. None of which require the same building standards.

  3. NW10 October 3rd, 2014 at 8:29 am

    This is the price paid for progressives not getting out and supporting Democrats. It’s time that changes!

  4. Maxx44 October 3rd, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Brought to you by the compassionate conservatives who want small government that doesn’t trample on individual rights. Oh, I forgot, that only applies to gun nuts.

  5. Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 9:45 am

    This issue reminds me of the voter ID issue. Rather than working to get people IDs, all the effort is focused on complaining about the law. The 13 clinics should just comply with the law rather than looking to score political points.

    • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 9:48 am

      It’s too bad in the legislation they didn’t offer in any help in getting these clinics upgraded. No grants or loans were made available with the new legislation. Do you think that could be because the religious right wanted to shut them down, not offer help?

      • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 9:53 am

        Valid point.

        • arc99 October 3rd, 2014 at 11:06 am

          Of course it is a valid point. This law was never about safety, it was about shutting down clinics which provide abortions. Neither the American Medical Association nor the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have found any need for these Texas regulations.

          Pro-birth activist Carol Tobias ( I refuse to call them pro-life because they are not) accidentally told the truth on a national talk show that the real intent of these laws is to shut down clinics.

          The valid point here is that the supporters of these laws are hiding behind a lie in order to deprive women of access to a legal medical procedure. so if you think these laws controlling a basic constitutional right are such a good idea, why do we not expand the concept and mandate that anyone who owns a firearm must have certain “safety measures” implemented in their homes

    • NW10 October 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 am

      You’re treating the .00001% of actual voting fraud as a serious legit problem?

      • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 10:15 am

        You’re treating the tiny number of actual voters without IDs as a serious problem.

        • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 10:27 am

          It’s not that tiny a number, it is larger than you think. The costs involved can be relatively high to the poor and elderly. Those people are usually democrats and that why these laws are being passed. It is blatant discrimination.

          • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 1:30 pm

            How many?

          • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 1:36 pm

            Learn how to use google and look it up if you want, it can vary from state to state.

          • Dwendt44 October 3rd, 2014 at 4:45 pm

            A birth certificate, if there even is one, can cost up to $100 in some states and counties. Poor folks can’t afford that, or even $20.
            Never mind the travel costs involved if you live in a different county or state from where you were born. People in retirement homes and nursing homes and the disabled have even more difficulties.

        • Anomaly 100 October 3rd, 2014 at 11:44 am

          Wow. So the elderly who have voted their entire lives without issue and now cannot vote (I know you’ve read about them), are carelessly discounted by you.

          • Skydog2 October 3rd, 2014 at 1:25 pm

            How many people want to vote but can’t because they don’t have IDs?
            Get them IDs.

          • Anomaly 100 October 3rd, 2014 at 1:31 pm

            Google is there for a purpose. I’m of the mind that if you and your party prevent one person from voting, then it is you who are breaking the rules.

          • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 1:37 pm

            Sounds like a good thing to look up on the internet. Try it.

          • Anomaly 100 October 3rd, 2014 at 2:51 pm

            Who exactly should get them IDs?

    • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Rather than working to get people IDs, all the effort is focused on complaining about the law.


      The converse is true.

      If the GOP were really NOT trying to disenfranchise eligible voters, they would be working to get people ids, AND… take a decade to ensure that all eligible voters who want them HAVE the ids instead of making it more difficult, like closing DMVs in Democratic districts;

      The Wisconsin legislature is finalizing a bill to close ten Department of Motor Vehicle centers located in Democratic districts within the state. The money saved will be used to extend operating hours at DMV centers in Republican districts. These cuts come on the heels of new voter ID laws that require voters to present a state-issued photo identification card at the poll booths.

      As for the clinics; these are called “trap laws”, designed to be impossible to comply with.

      The number of abortions don’t decrease, only the safety does.

    • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 10:38 am

      We know the reason for the voter id laws;

      Paul Weyrich:
      “Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome
      — good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to
      vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from
      the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact,
      our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace
      goes down.”

    • whatthe46 October 3rd, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      why do you approve of the govt. being involved in a woman’s right to an abortion? there’s no law against it.

  6. mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 9:48 am

    The people of Texas need to learn that all elections are important. If you don’t vote a religious minority will and they will take away the rights of those they deem unworthy by exerting excessive control through religious legislation made to look like something else.

  7. NW10 October 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 am

    But remember, as Jon Stewart pointed out last night, the GOP are seriously concerned about saving human lives!

    • Bunya October 3rd, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      And they ARE seriously concerned about saving human lives – up until that life passes through the birth canal.

    • Dwendt44 October 3rd, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      This only applies to the poor and working poor of course. The better off have alternatives that costs more but are still available. A friendly doctor, or other medical trained person might find a few that need their services. The will off can travel to a more rational state or even to another country for their needs. The darling daughter can use a short ‘vacation’ in South America for what ever services that are needed.

  8. rg9rts October 3rd, 2014 at 10:48 am

    And the baggers are dancing in the streets handing out free coathangers

  9. arc99 October 3rd, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I would say to all you firearms fetishists that when the day comes in some state that there are only 8 locations where you can purchase a firearm and those locations are open only for 28 days each year, then you can bleat about your 2nd amendment rights being threatened.

    Until then please stop your self-indulgent whining and take a look at what it is like when rights such as the right to an abortion and the right to vote are truly threatened.

  10. Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 11:10 am

    If anyone is curious to know what the surgical center rules actually require, I think this is the correct document:

    It is unfortunate that this article, and the NYT article it references, failed to provide any information about the requirements.

    • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 11:48 am

      They are TRAP laws; Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, laws that single out the medical practices of doctors who provide abortions, and impose on them requirements that are different and more burdensome than those imposed on other medical practices.

      • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        Not true. There are 1155 Ambulatory Surgical Centers in Texas that have to comply with the same regulations.

        If you have Microsoft Excel, you can view the complete list here:

        Here is the same list in PDF format:

        • tiredoftea October 3rd, 2014 at 12:28 pm

          There is no rational reason for the TX laws, other than to deny a legal medical procedure to women:

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 12:38 pm

            What’s missing here are the specific details. What specific provisions of the ambulatory surgical center regulations are causing problems for these 8 abortion clinics? Hundreds of other facilities, including a number of abortion clinics, are already meeting these requirements. What are they doing that the 8 abortion clinics are not able or willing to do?

            When I skimmed the regulations, I saw things like record-keeping requirements, fire safety requirements, and air quality requirements. I didn’t see anything that appeared to be burdensome. And since hundreds of other facilities are already meeting the requirements, why should these 8 clinics get an exemption?

            Suppose that someone dies during an abortion procedure, due to a preventable cause that these regulations are intended to correct. Wouldn’t that person’s family have grounds for a lawsuit on the basis that the legislature was negligent in its duty to provide “equal protection” to users of abortion services?

          • tiredoftea October 3rd, 2014 at 1:10 pm

            Here’s the point that you seem to be evading, ignoring, or denying. There is no valid medical reason for these regulations, period, Full stop. This is a punitive law enacted solely for the purpose of making access to women’s health services, including abortions, as difficult as possible, if not impossible. That’s it.

            It is a case of a religiously motivated legislature imposing draconian laws to deny women their Constitutional rights to health services simply because they have another opinion about how, why and whether any woman who needs them should be able to use them.

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 1:29 pm

            So every clinic that removes cataracts has to meet all of the requirements, but if a clinic removes the products of conception, the same requirements shouldn’t apply? I suppose the cars used to transport women to abortion clinics don’t need airbags?
            “Ambulatory Surgery Centers were developed over 30 years ago as innovative facilities where patients could have surgery performed in a safe and comfortable setting that does not require an overnight stay. The most common procedures, such as cataract removal, colonoscopy, and knee arthroscopy, are now performed in surgery centers.”


          • tiredoftea October 3rd, 2014 at 1:34 pm

            So, you are deliberately evading the point that this law is punitive. Period.

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 1:40 pm

            You have not answered the question as to why abortion clinics should be less regulated than clinics that remove cataracts. Are cataract removal clinics also being punished by these regulations?

          • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 1:47 pm

            1) Abortion clinics ARE regulated.

            2) They do not require the same regulations as surgical centers because they are not as invasive and no do not require the same medication and anesthesia.

            That is why doctors and most major medical organizations, including the AMA oppose these laws.

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm

            Are you familiar with the Joan Rivers incident in which a simple outpatient procedure resulted in a situation that the clinic was not prepared to handle? Sometimes a seemingly healthy patient “crashes” during a simple procedure, such as cataract removal. Is cataract removal more dangerous than abortion? Most patients undergoing cataract removal are elderly, while most undergoing abortion are more youthful. But what about the 40-year old, obese chain smoker with diabetes and hypertension who comes into the clinic for an abortion? Can’t reasonable people disagree about the minimum level of preparedness that is required of the clinic? If abortion clinics don’t need to meet the regulations, then wouldn’t cataract removal clinics have justification for requesting an exemption as well? Why not hold every outpatient clinic to the same standard?

          • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 2:32 pm

            Are you familiar with the Joan Rivers incident


            That has nothing to do with this.
            That was a much bigger procedure with a general anesthesia.

            But why not hold EVERY clinic to the same standard then???

          • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 3:25 pm

            Are you familiar with the Joan Rivers incident in which a simple outpatient procedure resulted in


            That was very different.

            That was not a simple case, and it involved general anesthesia.

            But why not, then, apply the same standards to ALL clinics?

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 2:04 pm

            Isn’t it also true that most doctors and most major medical organizations refuse to perform abortions? Otherwise, abortion would be readily available everywhere in the US, right?

          • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 2:30 pm

            No, most don’t perform them in hospitals because many don’t want the hassle from the anti-choice crowds.

            We have many in our city who do.

            But are many don’t want the death threats and threats to their families.

            In many places, (like Texas), women simply do it themselves or op for more dangerous procedures.

            Looking to Mexico for Alternative to Abortion Clinics


          • tiredoftea October 3rd, 2014 at 6:46 pm

            It is an irrelevant and ignorant question. The state of Texas has shown bad faith against women’s health services with this law. Further, the state of Texas has shown no harm has come to women under the prior procedures, proving that the sole intent of the law is to deny legal, Constitutionally protected procedures be denied.

            To repeat, “So, you are deliberately evading the point that this law is punitive. Period.”

        • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 12:56 pm

          And this is why that is bogus;

          U.S.District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked two provisions of Texas’s omnibus anti-abortion law HB 2. In a scathing 21-page opinion, Judge Yeakel wrote that the law’s requirement that abortion clinics meet the same building requirements
          as ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) created an “unconstitutional undue burden on women throughout Texas” and could not stand.

        • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 1:42 pm

          How many of them had to change their entire building or move to a brand new building suddenly because the rules were changed on them? My guess is only the abortion providers. Looks like discrimination to me.

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 1:52 pm

            In most cases when rules are changed, organizations are given a reasonable period of time in which to comply. I am only defending the fairness of the rules themselves. I am not defending the apparent lack of a grace period. I say “apparent” because I am not sure how much advance notice these clinics might have had.

          • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 2:04 pm

            No grace period, the courts said they can start shutting the clinics down immediately.

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 2:30 pm

            It is my understanding that the law was passed last year. The court trials simply delayed its enforcement. So the clinics knew, or should have known, that these changes were somewhat likely to come.
            I’ve read that the changes could cost each of the 8 clinics as much as $1-$1.5 million. That’s a total of $12 million. If every abortion rights supporter in the US contributed one dollar to a fund, wouldn’t that cover the upgrade costs? And wouldn’t the women visiting those clinics be better served?

          • arc99 October 3rd, 2014 at 2:45 pm

            NO those women would not be better served. They live in Texas. if the bogus safety requirements were eventually addressed, the legislators would simply concoct another roadblock to providing abortions. I would also ask why should $12million of anyone’s money be spent on measures that no reputable medical organization such as the AMA has found to be necessary?

            your denial notwithstanding, this is not about patient safety, it is about shutting down clinics. the supporters of these laws admit as much.

            the proper response to a law based on a lie is not to raise money for compliance, but to raise money for repeal.

          • Robert M. Snyder October 3rd, 2014 at 3:19 pm

            “the proper response to a law based on a lie is not to raise money for compliance, but to raise money for repeal.”

            The two are not mutually exclusive. If one percent of the US population (3 million people) each donated the cost of a latte ($4), then these women wouldn’t have to wait for a legislative solution that could take years. If you care about these women, then wouldn’t you want to do something to help them NOW?

            Suppose someone came up to you and said “My sister needs an abortion, but the clinic needs to make some upgrades. Will you please contribute $5 to help make that possible?”. What would you say? “Sorry. She’s going to have to drive out of state. After all, it’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing.”.

            Crocodile tears.

          • OldLefty October 3rd, 2014 at 3:34 pm

            Suppose someone came up to you and said “My sister needs an ab…


            Because the moment there was an “upgrade” (that would take longer than she has), there would be another reason they had to shut down.

            The “upgrade” is a phony issue that NOBODY buys.

    • mea_mark October 3rd, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Perhaps you should look at some of the requirements having to do with construction and remodeling. Start on page 52. It looks like they want wider hallways which would mean remodeling which in many cases simply can’t be done. Lots of new regulations from the big government wanting to control every little detail. In essence they are saying you have to shut down now and rebuild to our new specifications that you can’t afford and we are not going to help you. It’s not about safety, it is about increasing the cost to a prohibitive level.

  11. tiredoftea October 3rd, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Showing compassion to women since 1979.

  12. Dwendt44 October 3rd, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    We need those Do It Yourself kits to be available again. I’d guess it wouldn’t be long before Texas would figure out a way to outlaw them as well.

  13. whatthe46 October 3rd, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    And when these babies are born, they won’t give
    a damn about their lives.