Appeals Court Upholds Harsh Texas Anti-Choice Provisions

HeadlineJun 10, 2015

A federal appeals court has upheld harsh anti-choice provisions in Texas, threatening to leave the state with fewer than 10 abortion clinics. When the sweeping anti-choice law passed despite a “people’s filibuster” at the state Legislature in 2013, Texas had more than 40 clinics. Since then, more than half of them have closed. Now, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Texas can enforce provisions requiring abortion facilities to meet the standards of hospital-style surgery centers and forcing providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The ruling exempts a clinic in the South Texas city of McAllen, on the grounds that forcing women to travel 235 miles to the nearest clinic would be an undue burden. But it remains unclear if the clinic can stay open. If the rules take effect, an estimated 900,000 reproductive-age women will live more than 150 miles from the nearest open abortion facility in the state. Abortion providers plan to appeal to the Supreme Court before the decision takes effect in about 22 days. In a statement, Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Not since before Roe v. Wade has a law or court decision had the potential to devastate access to reproductive health care on such a sweeping scale.”

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