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The Leading Edge: TX Abortion Injunction Enjoined

November 1, 2013



The Story:  “Federal appeals court reinstates most of Texas’ abortion restrictions,” as reported by

The Lead:

A federal appeals court issued a ruling Thursday reinstating most of Texas’ controversial new abortions restrictions, just three days after a federal judge ruled they were unconstitutional.

The decision by the panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals means as many as 12 clinics won’t be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday.

The panel said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit moves forward. The restrictions could take effect Friday.

Why it Matters:  It’s not uncommon for a decision of a lower court judge to be stayed – meaning, legally held to be not enforceable – while an appeal is pending.  But, neither is it guaranteed.  And it usually does not come with such speed.

Three days ago, a district court judge in Texas invalidated key provisions of the “Omnibus” pro-life bill made famous by Wendy Davis’ filibuster this past summer.  Today, an appellate court put that decision on hold – and did so with language that, to me, indicates that the underlying decision at the district court will probably not survive on appeal.

That means that, as of now, at least a dozen abortion clinics in Texas will be hard-pressed to function.  Why?  Primarily because one of the main provisions that this Omnibus law imposed upon the abortion industry of Texas is the shocking requirement that the physician conducting the abortion be required to have admitting privileges to a local hospital.  There are a variety of reasons for this, including peer oversight and credentialing and the ability to treat one’s patient in a follow up, non clinic context (say, if there are complications to an abortion – of which there are many).  Seems reasonable, right?  Well, not to the abortion industry.

This story matters because – so long as abortion remains legal – our country owes it to our fellow citizens to hold the abortion industry closely accountable.  An abortion clinic operating under self-regulation has already demonstrated itself to be disastrous.

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