Supreme Court Bars Texas From Enforcing Draconian Abortion Law, Clinics To Stay Open
On Tuesday the Supreme Court blocked a federal appeals court ruling that was forcing many abortion clinics in Texas to close. The ruling barred Texas from enforcing an abortion regulation that left only seven clinics open in the state.
[su_center_ad]The Supreme Court’s order, which was five sentences long, will allow the clinics to remain open while appeals proceed, The New York Times reports.
The Statesman reports:
The regulation, requiring clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, was declared unconstitutional in August by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who ruled that the requirement was designed to limit access to abortion by shutting down clinics, not improve women’s health as legislators had argued.
After Texas appealed, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 2 that the state could enforce the regulation while its appeal continued.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the lower appeals court — barring Texas from enforcing the surgical-center regulation — in a 6-3 order that did not elaborate on the court’s reasons. The order added that Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas would have denied the request to overturn the 5th Circuit Court, filed last week in an emergency motion by abortion providers.
This is a win for women’s rights.
Lawyers with the Center for Reproductive Rights told the Court, “If the stay entered by the Fifth Circuit is not vacated, the clinics forced to remain closed during the appeals process will likely never reopen.”
The center’s brief said that the appeals court ruling meant that “over 900,000 Texas women of reproductive age, more than a sixth of all such women in Texas, now reside more than 150 miles from the nearest Texas abortion provider, up from 86,000 prior to the enactment of the challenged act.”
In response, Greg Abbott, Texas’ attorney general and the Republican candidate for governor — Wendy Davis’ opponent — told the justices that “it is undisputed that the vast majority of Texas residents (more than 83 percent) still live within a comfortable driving distance (150 miles)” of an abortion clinic in compliance with the law. Others live in parts of the state, he said, that did not have nearby clinics in the first place.
Abbott said those in the El Paso area could obtain abortions across the state line in New Mexico. Although, he didn’t specify how women scraping by on low incomes could afford to do as such.
H/T: LL’s Mod God, @Mea_Mark, with thanks.[su_csky_ad]