US Court of Appeals gives Texas an Historic Pro-Life Victory Again
A panel of three judges in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released its ruling upholding HB2, Texas’ Pro-Life law, which took full effect in October of last year. The opinion affirms the constitutionality of the legislation passed last summer and rejects Planned Parenthood’s argument that HB2 places an “undue burden” upon abortionists, abortion facilities, and women seeking abortion.
The court upheld sections of the law that require abortionists hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug be administered according to FDA procedure. The judges wrote,
“The district court held that parts of both provisions were unconstitutional and granted, in substantial part, the requested injunctive relief. A motions panel of this court granted a stay pending appeal, and the Supreme Court upheld the stay. We conclude that both of the challenged provisions are constitutional and, therefore, reverse and render judgment, with one exception, for the State.”
There is a minor caveat to the ruling, abortionists who have applied for admitting privileges prior to the law going into effect, but have not yet received a reply from local hospitals may continue to commit abortions until their applications for privileges are officially denied.
The court asserted that higher standards for an abortionist are, in fact, justified,
“During these proceedings, Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.”
This is the third time recently that this Court of Appeals has upheld Pro-Life policies attacked by abortion advocates. The same court upheld Texas’ 2011 Sonogram Law and a policy that kept the abortion business Planned Parenthood out of the taxpayer-funded Women’s Health Program.
The decision on House Bill 2 has been expected ever since the New Orleans hearing in January where the three-judge panel heard Planned Parenthood's attempts to convince them that such measures provide an undue burden to women seeking abortion. However, these claims made in court apparently had little effect on the judges, who seem to be unimpressed with the exaggerated nature of the lawsuit and that Planned Parenthood requested the Supreme Court’s precedent establishing the meaning of “undue burden” be overlooked by the Fifth Circuit Court.
Planned Parenthood may have jumped the gun in making such broad and overarching undue burden arguments. The 5th Circuit justices wrote in their opinion; Planned Parenthood's case required evidence that could only be provided after the law has been sufficiently applied. Namely, Planned Parenthood would have to present the court with a sufficient number of documented cases in which the provisions of HB2 caused a severe impediment to a woman seeking an abortion.
Texas Right to Life celebrates the 5th Circuit's conscientious decision that upholds the protections and safeguards afforded by HB2.