Legislation / Court Cases

5th Circuit Upholds Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Standards (2015)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just unanimously ruled to uphold a pro-life law requiring Texas abortion clinics to meet common-sense health and safety standards.
[See a copy of the press release]

5th Circuit Upholds Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Standards in Lakey Decision

Americans United for Life Press Release: 5th Circuit Protects Women’s Health with Ruling Holding Texas Abortionists to Real Medical Standards

In a sweeping victory for women, the Fifth Circuit has upheld a Texas law requiring that abortion ‘clinics’ meet the same health and safety standards as facilities that provide other outpatient surgeries.

In a per curiam decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey, the Court found that the medical requirement advances Texas’ interests in safeguarding maternal health and protecting women from substandard abortion facilities and practices.

“Texas has struck a decisive blow for women’s health and safety against a predatory abortion industry,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

“A largely under-monitored, under-supervised, and secretive abortion industry tells women ‘trust but don’t verify that our clinics are clean and safe.’ No longer should women be abandoned to self-serving and false assurances from an industry that puts profits over people.”

For more than a decade, AUL has led the nationwide effort to combat the reality of legal “back alley” abortions, advocating for meaningful and comprehensive regulation and oversight of abortion ‘clinics’ across the nation.

AUL attorneys and experts have drafted model legislation requiring that abortion ‘clinics’ meet the same basic health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical facilities, defended abortion clinic regulations in court, and worked with concerned legislators across the nation to better protect women and children.

“AUL is partnering with influential legislators to ensure that American women are no longer victimized by a profit-centered abortion industry, willing to spend significant money opposing efforts to enact commonsense health and safety standards rather than invest that money in women’s safety,” said Dr. Yoest.

“And while Big Abortion fights against protecting women, they rake in millions in taxpayer funding each year.” …

Texas’ ambulatory surgical center standards were part of Texas House Bill 2, enacted in 2013, with the help of AUL experts. The measure also requires that abortion providers maintain hospital admitting privileges to ensure that women facing post-abortion complications receive proper emergency care; prohibits abortions after 20-weeks; and, specifically using AUL model language, regulates the provision of dangerous abortion-inducing drugs including RU-486.

The Fifth Circuit upheld the admitting privileges requirement and abortion-inducing drugs regulations in March 2014.

AUL filed an amicus curiae brief (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Fifth Circuit in support of the mandate that abortion ‘clinics’ meet the same health and safety standards as other facilities performing outpatient surgeries.

This case is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke, writing in The Federalist, predicted in January 2015 that the high court would eventually review the life-affirming provisions of Texas House Bill 2 and, in doing so, could dramatically change America’s abortion landscape.

Notably, the Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of comprehensive health and safety standards for abortion facilities.

For more on health and safety standards outlined in the model legislation in Defending Life, visit link below.
[June 9, 2015, WASHINGTON, D.C., Jeanneane Maxon, http://www.aul.org/2015/06/5th-circuit-protects-womens-health-with-ruling-holding-texas-abortionists-to-real-medical-standards/ ]

 

 

Court Upholds Texas Pro-Life Law Closing Abortion Facilities, Saving 9,900 From Abortion

A federal appeals court issued a ruling today upholding a Texas pro-life law credited with closing multiple abortion clinics and cutting abortions 13 percent, saving an estimated 9,900 babies from abortion.

The legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards of other Ambulatory Surgical Centers in the state, ensures that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and bans painful late abortions on fully formed babies.

The admitting privileges portion of the law was the portion responsible for closing abortion businesses and, because so many shut down or stopped doing abortions, Judge Lee Yeakel claimed that constituted an undue burden on women.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal of Judge Yeakel’s ruling and the appellate court issued its decision on that today.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court “erred by substituting its own judgment for that of the legislature” when ruling against the pro-life bill.

It ruled that all abortion businesses have to follow the admitting privileges law except one.

Here’s more from a liberal Texas web site:

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state can require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards, which include minimum sizes for rooms and doorways, pipelines for anesthesia and other infrastructure. Only a handful of Texas abortion clinics in the state — all in major metropolitan areas — meet those standards.

In the lawsuit brought against the state, the Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of several Texas abortion providers, also asked the court for a reprieve for two clinics from a separate provision of the law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.

The three-judge panel ruled in the providers’ favor on part of that request, granting exemptions to the admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements for one clinic in question, Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen. It did not grant the same request for another provider, Reproductive Services in El Paso.

The legal fight is likely to continue. Abortion providers could request that the full 15-member court hear the case or they could attempt to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 5th Circuit is considered one of the nation’s most conservative federal appellate courts.

Planned Parenthood did not challenge the law’s prohibition on abortions that take place at 20 weeks or later, a provision based on evidence that demonstrates the baby can feel pain at that stage.

Pro-life Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the omnibus HB 2 bill into law in July 2013.

Abbott criticized Yeakel in his motion to the appellate court, saying the district judge “failed even to mention (much less follow) precedent” from the appellate court and U.S. Supreme Court.

Abbott asked for a response from the appeals court by Friday and he said he thinks it will overturn the judge’s decision.

A leading pro-life group hailed today’s decision.

“Texas has struck a decisive blow for women’s health and safety against a predatory abortion industry,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “A largely under-monitored, under-supervised, and secretive abortion industry tells women ‘trust but don’t verify that our clinics are clean and safe.’

“No longer should women be abandoned to self-serving and false assurances from an industry that puts profits over people.”

AUL filed an amicus curiae brief (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Fifth Circuit in support of the mandate that abortion clinics meet the same health and safety standards as other facilities performing outpatient surgeries.

This case is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. …

Click to Read at LifeNews.com:
http://www.lifenews.com/2015/06/09/court-upholds-texas-pro-life-law-closing-abortion-clinics-saving-10000-from-abortion/

 

 

In a huge victory last week, a 3-member panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that nearly all provisions of a sweeping 2013 Texas abortion clinic safety

law are Constitutional and may go into effect on July 1, 2015.

This 56-page ruling lifted an injunction that prevented enforcement of certain requirements, including facility standards and a provision that required abortionists to maintain

hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facility.

Once the law takes effect, it is expected to close 9 out of 17 remaining abortion facilities in Texas. Before the passage of the controversial abortion law, there were 41

abortion clinics in the Lone Star State.

In an unusual move, the Court carved out an exemption for the Whole Women’s Health abortion clinic in McAllen, Texas, reasoning that the closure of the last abortion facility

in the Rio Grande Valley would pose an “undue burden” on women, who would then have to travel about 230 miles to the next nearest clinic in San Antonio.

“Many people have to travel over three hours to get legitimate, life-saving medical care, such as certain kinds of surgeries or treatment for diseases that require specialists.

No one is concerned about an undue burden on those people. However, when it comes to abortion, it looks like the Court would rather keep a substandard abortion clinic open

that endangers women rather than no abortion clinic at all. This poses a serious health risk to women,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This gerrymandering

of the Constitution is problematic and should be challenged by the State of Texas. The law should apply equally to all.”

However, Fatimah Gifford, a spokeswoman for Whole Woman’s Health, told reporters that she is not sure the McAllen facility will be able to continue operations.

Last week’s ruling allows the McAllen site to operate only until another facility opens that meets all the safety requirements of the law.

The Court also issued a unique exemption for abortionist Sherwood Lynn, one of four Whole Women’s Health’s McAllen abortionists, who is alone allowed to continue operating there without hospital privileges.

“We will just have to wait and see who is left after July 1,” said Newman. “Right now the situation is in flux, but any abortion clinic closures will save lives and protect women from unscrupulous and dangerous abortion mills, and for that we are very grateful.”

A study published in July, 2014, revealed that after portions of HB2 went into effect in 2013, abortions dropped an impressive 13% the following year.

“When abortion clinics close, lives are saved,” said Newman. “Some want to deny that fact, but the numbers don’t lie.”

Operation Rescue contributed to the passage of HB2 after reporting extensively on abortion abuses perpetrated by Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell and Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen.

Operation Rescue obtained information from several former employees of Karpen, including photos taken by them of late-term aborted babies that had large gashes in their throats, raising concerns that those babies had been born alive and intentionally murdered in a similar way that Gosnell dispatched his victims.

Gosnell was convicted of three counts of First Degree Murder for “snipping” the spinal cords of babies born alive during shoddy abortions. He is serving life in prison.

Operation Rescue’s reporting caught the eye of Gov. Rick Perry, who called two special sessions of the legislature in order to pass HB2.

Whole Women’s Heath, which sued in 2013 to block enforcement of HB2, is seeking to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
There has been no word yet on whether the nation’s highest court will hear the case.

[Austin, TX, ~15 June 2015, http://www.operationrescue.org/archives/court-ruling-will-save-lives-by-closing-more-texas-abortion-clinics/ ]