From our Press Release:
COURT DECISION PROTECTS ABORTION ACCESS FOR MOST WOMEN IN TEXAS, BUT UPHOLDS RESTRICTIONS ON MEDICATION ABORTION
Ruling blocks provision that would have made safe, legal abortion non-existent for one in three Texas women
AUSTIN, TX 10/28/2013 – After a three day trial, a federal court today permanently struck down one provision of a recently enacted, deeply unpopular law – a measure that would have made safe and legal abortion services for one-third of women in Texas virtually impossible to access.
While U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel blocked implementation of a requirement that all abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, today’s ruling has allowed another harmful measure to take effect on October 29 – one that severely restricts the use of medication abortion, a safe and effective method to end an early pregnancy.
“We are very relieved that Judge Yeakel blocked implementation of the admitting privileges requirement and that we do not need to close our facilities in McAllen, Fort Worth and San Antonio,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO, Founder and President of Whole Woman’s Health. “This decision will keep thousands of women safe and allows our Whole Woman’s Health clinics to continue to provide compassionate, professional care to women in our communities. The staff and physicians working with Whole Woman’s Health have been on edge for weeks, and most especially today; our patients have been calling and asking over and over if they will be able to be seen tomorrow. We are thankful for the Judge’s ruling and relieved to be able to continue care for the women who need us most.”
Hagstrom Miller continues, “We are disappointed that Judge Yeakel did not also block the severe restrictions on medication abortion. Nearly 40% of the women we serve at Whole Woman’s Health choose medication abortion and now Texas is preventing these women from the advances in medical practice that other women across the United States will be able to access. These restrictions are not based on sound medical practice.”
The dangerous and unconstitutional provisions blocked today were part of a package of legislation signed by Governor Rick Perry on July 18 following a series of special legislative sessions, but opposed by 80 percent of Texas voters, according to a poll by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Medical experts in Texas and across the country, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Texas Medical Association, and Texas Hospital Association, also publicly opposed provisions in the law because they provide no medical benefit to women and will actually jeopardize women’s health and safety.
[end press release]
We are so excited about Judge Yeakel’s ruling today, even though it only blocks one provision of House Bill 2. Yeakel has made a decision that requiring doctors who provide abortion services to get hospital admitting privileges is unconstitutional and poses a massive burden on us, the plaintiffs. In his ruling, he also said that we did not provide enough proof of burden to have an injunction against the outdated FDA protocols for administering a medical abortion, though he did add an exception that made the alternate FDA protocol used by most physicians permissible if it was “necessary for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” You can read his opinion here. Although we wish it were true, the multiple media reports earlier today that all of HB 2 had been struck down are unfortunately not true.
While today is definitely cause for happiness, we have been told by the Center for Reproductive Rights that the state has already appealed Judge Yeakel’s ruling, setting the course for us to head to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Onward and upward. #FightBackTX