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US 5th Circuit Court Returns Ruling That Upholds Most Of 2013 Texas Abortion Law

Ryan E. Poppe

A panel of judges at the US 5th Circuit Court has upheld most of the restrictions contained within Texas’ 2013 controversial abortion law, but this is not the end of the road for clinics that have sued the State of Texas.

After holding their breath for the last six months, those challenging Texas’ 2013 Abortion law now have a ruling.  And The 5th Circuit Court decided that clinics will have the next 22-days for doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and for clinics to convert their facility into an ambulatory-surgical center or face closure.  Amy Hagstrom Miller is the owner of Whole Women’s Health, a group of clinics that sued the state over the law.

“Ending a pregnancy will mean traveling 300-miles and overcoming unnecessary hurdles such as additional cost, childcare and immigration checkpoints.  It’s bad enough that the politicians that we the people of Texas elected to protect and represent our communities have turned their backs on us, but now the justice system has too,” Hagstrom Miller said.

But the group of justices did manage to carve out an exemption for a clinic in McAllen, something those against the law had requested to help serve women living in the Rio Grande Valley.  A similar request for a clinic in El Paso was not given the same consideration.  Stephanie Toti is an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Women in El Paso can travel out of state to obtain abortions because neighboring states do not impose the requirements that Texas does, but it rightly recognizes that women in the Rio Grande Valley have no other options,” Toti explained.

That means for now there are no clinics located west of San Antonio.  The group of clinics suing the state plans on asking the US Supreme Court to take up their case challenging Texas law.

Governor Greg Abbott, who defended the law before taking office as governor called the ruling a vindication of the careful deliberation by lawmakers to craft a law that protects Texas women.