AUSTIN — The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed suit on behalf of over a dozen Texas abortion providers in an attempt to overturn new abortion regulations in the state.
As previously reported, in June, Senate Bill 5 (SB5) passed the Texas House of Representatives, and cleared the Senate a month later after being delayed by a filibuster led by Forth Worth Democrat Wendy Davis. It was signed into law days after its passage by Governor Rick Perry.
“I am calling the legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas,” Perry stated following the filibuster. “Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. … We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”
SB5 included stipulations that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, and also regulated the clinical standards of abortion facilities.
On Friday, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU of Texas and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit against the new law, asking the court to grant an injunction to prevent the statute from going into effect on October 29th. Specifically, the suit challenges the requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility, that medicinal abortions be performed on site and not at home, and that abortion facilities upgrade to meet the standards of a surgical center.
“[It] would be catastrophic, making essential reproductive health care services for many Texans, especially poor and rural women, practically impossible to access,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, wrote in an official statement.
The suit asserts that several abortion facilities in the state will be forced to close as a result of the new regulations.
“If this law goes into effect, there is no doubt it will end access to safe and legal abortion for many women, leaving some to resort to desperate and dangerous measures,” contended Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We won’t let that happen.”
However, a spokesman for Governor Perry told FOX13 that the regulations are just that, and won’t end abortion in Texas.
“It’s not surprising that those in the abortion business would oppose these common sense measures to protect women’s health and the lives of children,” outlined Josh Havens. “Every abortion clinic in Texas can choose to meet these standards and continue operation. Those that don’t are clearly putting profits before patients.”
Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life said that she believes that suit shows that abortion “extremists are desperate to keep playing fast and loose with women’s health.”
“Never before have Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights joined their anti-life forces in such an orchestrated manner, indicating that House Bill 2 will significantly impact the bottom line of the abortionists’ blood money, she stated. “Texas Right to Life has full confidence in our pro-life attorney General Greg Abbott, who has already announced his determination and commitment to defend this landmark law.”
Photo: Kumar Appiah