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5th Circuit Upholds New Texas Rules For Abortion Providers

Ryan Poppe
TPR News
Attorneys exit the court building in October 2013 after final arguments in what was the first legal challenge of Texas' new abortion law.

 The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has overturned a lower federal’s court ruling that sections of Texas’ new abortion law were unconstitutional.  

Civil rights groups have said the law would close one-third of Texas abortion clinics and leave large sections of Texas women with the only option to drive hundreds of miles to be seen by a doctor. 

"The court said that’s not an undue burden," said attorney Janet Krepps with the Center for Reproductive Rights, who argued the case in federal court. "It ignores the reality of the lives of women, it assumes they have a car, they can get off work, but even more fundamentally that it’s okay to put these burdens on women when the law is shutting down what used to be locally-available safe services.”

The section of the law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital has faced controversy since it was presented. The 5th Circuit included only one exception to this regulation in their ruling.

“There’s a narrow grace period that was provided by today’s opinion that says doctors that had already applied for admitting privileges but haven’t heard back from the hospital that this law can’t be applied against them while they wait for a decision," said Rebecca Robertson, the chief legal counsel with the ACLU of Texas.

Attorneys are looking at the option of asking the entire 5th Circuit to review the case -- Thursday's ruling was delivered by a three-judge panel -- and the case could make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision also upheld the part of the law that requires doctors administering abortion–inducing drugs to comply with Food and Drug Administration protocol.

You may read the full decision here:

PP v. Abbott- 5th Circuit Decision; March 2014 by Dan McConchie