Thursday, October 31, 2013

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Some Provisions of Texas Abortion Law

[Today's guest post by Rebecca Downs is part of our paid blogging program.]

As you have no doubt heard by now, a federal judge struck down a challenged provision of the Texas pro-life omnibus bill as unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles was unconstitutional because it placed an undue burden on women seeking abortions. The ruling came on Monday, just one day before the provision was set to go into effect.

The opinion also modified the requirement that abortionists follow FDA protocols when dispensing abortion drugs. From USA Today:
In a 26-page opinion, Yeakel also blocked a provision requiring physicians to strictly follow follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocols when prescribing "off-label" doses of pregnancy-ending drugs, limiting their treatment options. He called the lawmakers' action "an undue burden on those women for whom surgical abortion is, in the sound medical opinion of their treating physician, a significant health risk."
. . .

Regarding so-called medication abortion, Yeakel ordered that one provision "may not be enforced against any physician who determines, in appropriate medical judgment, to perform the medication-abortion using off-label protocol for the preservation of the life or health of the mother." But Yeakel, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, upheld as constitutional other FDA-required procedures, which require additional doses and doctor visits, even though they are "assuredly more imposing and unpleasant for the woman."
Considering that this is the same judge who issued the ruling that Texas had to continue funding Planned Parenthood, this ruling may not come as such a surprise. But as Judge Yeakel himself admitted, the case is likely to find its way to the Supreme Court.

From The Washington Post:
In a statement, Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean said "we appreciate the trial court’s attention in this matter," but made it clear Yeakel would not have the last word on the matter.

"As everyone – including the trial court judge – has acknowledged, this is a matter that will ultimately be resolved by the appellate courts or the U.S. Supreme Court," Bean said.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott—who is also a gubernatorial candidate on the Republican ticket against Wendy Davis, famous for filibustering the law—appealed the case to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

An ambulance transports a patient
from a Dallas abortion business.
Image via AbortionDocs
Judge Yeakel has said that requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals would be an undue burden. His opinion states that "the admitting-privileges portion of House Bill 2 lacks a rational basis and place an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion." Actually, what seems to be lacking a rational basis is why groups like Planned Parenthood would bring about a lawsuit on a provision that actually protects women getting an abortion and ensures that clinics take necessary precautions when it comes to such a procedure. Abortion advocates like to refer to an abortion as a typical medical procedure. Well, those have risks associated with them, and abortion does as well. When patients from botched abortions are taken to the hospital, the doctors there often do not know what they are dealing with, and trying to figure out what is wrong with the patient wastes precious time in treating her.

Oftentimes women getting an abortion may not know whether or not their abortion provider has admitting privileges. They may be desperate and vulnerable, and such valuable information is not on their mind. Such a state of mind should not mean that abortionists get to take advantage of these women and flaunt commonsense medicine. Would you want to see a doctor who was performing an abortion, or any other invasive procedure on you, without them having admitting privileges?

As Deanna Candler writes for Live Action News, admitting privileges could also help prevent further cases like Gosnell, whose patients were primarily poor and desperate. Happily, Judge Yeakel did uphold part of the requirement to follow FDA protocols for abortion drugs. But his comment that the FDA-required doctor visits are "assuredly more imposing and unpleasant for the woman" shows a disturbing lack of understanding on this issue. The FDA is not some pro-life organization with an agenda against abortion. They do not issue protocols for no reason. If abortion clinics and providers truly cared about the health and safety, they would have little or no problem complying.

With their opposition to such commonsense regulations, it is becoming more and more clear that groups like Planned Parenthood, and others who were part of the lawsuit, don't take safety regulation seriously. It is these pro-choice groups that really are engaging in a war on women and playing politics with women's health. The laws they oppose are not against women; rather, they are against unregulated abortion. For what, rather than for whom, groups like Planned Parenthood have loyalty and allegiance really comes out here. That "what" is abortion.


Alden Smith said...

It is a set back but we will keep fighting.

Coyote said...

Didn't an appeals court just rule in favor of our side on this, though?

Alden Smith said...

I don't know,? I have been busy with college, so haven't had a chance to find out

Kelsey said...

Yes, shortly after this piece was written, the appeals court lifted the injunction.

LevelUpPlease said...

"Actually, what seems to be lacking a rational basis is why groups like Planned Parenthood would bring about a lawsuit on a provision that actually protects women getting an abortion and ensures that clinics take necessary precautions when it comes to such a procedure."

How does ensuring *ONLY* doctors that perform abortion have admittance privileges at a near-by hospital protect women? If the goal here is really protecting women, why does this legislation not target every doctor that performs any type of out-patient procedure?

What is the rational basis behind the legislation, then? Just like I said when this was brought up before...just be honest what the goal is here. This legislation is not about protecting women and to claim so is incredibly disingenuous. The goal is to close clinics. Just be real. You aren't fooling anyone.

Simon said...

Under the Texas code, ambulatory surgery clinics are required to EITHER have a hospital transfer agreement OR doctors with admitting privileges. This law requiring only doctors with admitting privileges is unique to abortion providers, despite widespread talking points. LevelUpPlease you are right about the intent of this provision; it is not a safety regulation although it has secondary safety benefits. The proponents of the provision have lied about the intent over and over and over.

johno said...

Funny, I thought Bush appointed only evil "right wingers" to the court. This judge took the PP's position. Strange about the MSM news.

Rebecca Downs said...

Sorry for my late response. The rationale behind this legislation is to protect women. If it closes clinics then it's because those clinics aren't safe for women! What it comes down to it then is that abortion isn't safe for women. It's not like pro-lifers are gleefully thinking up these laws and rubbing their hands together. No, commonsense laws of protecting women are proposed and passed and then it is the unsafe abortion procedure which speaks for itself.

LevelUpPlease said...

How is the rationale to protect women, when you (PL Lobbyists) are not trying to make the requirements applicable to all out-patient clinics? Is this question unclear or something?

What is your proof that abortion at its various stages is any less safe than childbirth? Some procedures are riskier than others, for example, later term abortions carry much greater risk than early term abortions...but both have a lower mortality rate than childbirth.

But, at least we get to the bottom of the issue. It is the procedure itself you abhor, and PL lobbyist will try to block this procedure by any means necessary, including bogus 'safety' laws. Since and outright ban is not possible, laws like these make bans unnecessary. I get that. JUST BE REAL ABOUT IT!