Fed judge: Texas abortion limits unconstitutional

by Chris Tomlinson

New abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and will not take effect as scheduled on Tuesday, a federal judge has ruled.

District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote Monday that the regulations violated the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients and would unreasonably restrict a woman's access to abortion clinics.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought the lawsuit, arguing that a requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of the would force the closure of a third of the clinics in Texas. They also complained that requiring doctors to follow the Food and Drug Administration's original label for an -inducing drug would deny women the benefit of recent advances in medical science.

Beth Shapiro, chairwoman of board of directors of Lubbock's Planned Parenthood Women's Health Center, said no hospital in Lubbock has granted privileges to the lone doctor from eastern Texas who flies in to do abortions when there are procedures scheduled. There is not incentive for hospitals to do so, she said.

"I don't see why local hospitals would give privileges to someone who's not going to admit patients," Shapiro said. "I don't see what the business and financial incentive would be," she said. ... It's "more work and not going to increase patient load."

The Texas attorney general's office argued that the law protects women and the life of the fetus. Attorney General Greg Abbott was expected to file an emergency appeal of Yeakel's order to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Mississippi passed a similar law last year, which a also blocked pending a trial scheduled to begin in March. Mississippi's asked the 5th Circuit to lift the temporary injunction so the law could be enforced, but the judges have left it in place signaling they believe there is a legitimate constitutional question.

Unlike the Mississippi case, Yeakel's order is a final decision, setting the groundwork for the 5th Circuit to review the merits of the law, not just an injunction against it.

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Judge continues to block Mississippi abortion law

Jul 11, 2012

(AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday continued to block a state law that threatened to shut down Mississippi's only abortion clinic and make it nearly impossible for a woman to get the procedure in the state.

Only Miss. abortion clinic can't comply with law

Jan 12, 2013

Mississippi's only abortion clinic has missed a Friday deadline to comply with a new state law that requires each of its physicians to get hospital admitting privileges—a law the governor said he signed with the hopes of ...

Recommended for you

Don't let high altitude ruin your holiday trip

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—When you're planning your holiday get-away, don't forget to factor high altitude into your vacation sports—such as skiing or hiking, a sports medicine specialist cautions.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.