Texas abortion limits blocked
AUSTIN — A federal judge on Monday barred Texas from enforcing two key provisions of abortion restrictions that were to take effect on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel found that a provision requiring abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman's health.”
Yeakel barred Texas from enforcing a provision regulating the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs for “women for whom surgical abortion is, in the sound medical opinion of their treating physician, a significant health risk.” However, he allowed other parts of the provision, including a requirement for one extra office visit, to stand.
According to testimony presented in a trial last week before Yeakel, requiring abortion doctors to get admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic would force 13 of the state's 32 abortion facilities to close on Tuesday.
Doctors had difficulty meeting hospital requirements for privileges, which vary between facilities but often require doctors to live in the community, admit a minimum number of patients per year or be board certified in an area of specialization.
Many abortion doctors travel to several clinics or do not have practices designed to divert patients to the hospital, witnesses told Yeakel. The doctors tend to be at or near retirement and lack board certification, which had not been necessary or available for their practices, abortion providers testified.
In his ruling, Yeakel said the rule “places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her.”
Gov. Rick Perry said state officials will continue efforts to enact HB 2.
The case will head to federal appeals court, where abortion-related Texas laws have recently prevailed:
•In August 2012, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas could expel Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, which provides health and contraceptive care for low-income Texans.
The New Orleans-based appeals court overturned an injunction issued by Yeakel, who had found that the regulations violated Planned Parenthood's rights of free speech and association.
• The court ruled in January 2012 that Texas can require a pre-abortion sonogram in hopes that the information it provides would dissuade some women from getting an abortion.
The ruling overturned an injunction from U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin, who had found that the law violated the First Amendment by improperly requiring doctors and patients to engage in government-mandated speech.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Surgeon general echoes warnings about skin cancer
- Obama’s many rules often violate statute
- N.H. kidnapping suspect held on $1M bail
- Mountaineer workers fear smoking ban will harm ‘livelihood’
- ‘Slenderman’ attack victim receives Purple Heart from anonymous well wisher
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- Study: 35 percent in U.S. facing debt collectors