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Appeals Court to hear pro-abortion challenge to Texas law today

by | Jan 6, 2014

 

By Dave Andrusko

Judge Lee Yeakel

Judge Lee Yeakel

In the latest round of an already-extended legal battle, a three-judge panel will hear a challenge today to portions of a 2013 pro-life measure enacted in Texas.

Last November a differently constituted three-judge panel of the same 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reinstated most of the portions of HB2 enjoined three-days earlier by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel.

The key portion of the bill Judge Yeakel rejected required that abortionists have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Judge Yeakel concluded that this requirement “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.”

However Judges Priscilla R. Owen, Jennifer Walker Elrod, and Catharina Haynes disagreed. “[T]here is a substantial likelihood that the state will prevail in its argument that Planned Parenthood failed to establish an undue burden on women seeking abortions or that the hospital-admitting-privileges requirement creates a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion,” they wrote in a 20-page opinion.

Litigants are also challenging another provision of the Texas law that addressed the use of chemical abortifacients. The law requires the abortionist be in the same room as the woman receiving the chemical abortifacients (which is not the case with so-called ‘web-cam” abortions) and that abortionists follow the protocol approved by the FDA for the use of the two-drug “RU-486” abortion technique.

Yeakel said nothing to challenge the law’s requirement that the abortionist “must examine the pregnant woman.” Judge Yeakel also upheld the FDA protocol requirement that limits the use of the RU-486 abortion technique to the first 49 days. (The abortion industry wants it expanded to 63 days.)

But he did hold that for women between 49 and 63 days into their pregnancy, if a surgical abortion is “in the sound medical opinion of their treating physician, a significant health risk,” they could have chemical abortions. The three-judge panel concurred.

As NRL News Today has reported, the silence of pro-abortionists was deafening on Texas’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. That law which prohibits aborting babies capable of feeling pain, was never challenged and went into effect in October, the same day Yeakel issued his injunction.

Categories: Judicial