Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fifth Circuit upholds Texas abortion restrictions

Just as expected.

A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld Texas' tough new abortion restrictions that shuttered many of the abortions clinics in the state.

A panel of judges at the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court judge who said the rules violate the U.S. Constitution and served no medical purpose. In its opinion, the appeals court said the law "on its face does not impose an undue burden on the life and health of a woman."

Texas lawmakers last year passed some of the toughest restrictions in the U.S. on when, where and how women may obtain an abortion. The Republican-controlled Legislature required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and placed strict limits on doctors prescribing abortion-inducing pills.

Most Republican leaders in Texas oppose abortion, except in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. In passing the new rules, they argued they were protecting the health of the woman.

Greg Abbott Tweeted his delight at the news.  Burnt Orange has a map of the areas in the state where the restrictions are already making it difficult to impossible for women to get an abortion.  While the Fifth Circuit deliberated, women's clinics were closing all around the state.

On to the SCOTUS, and probably to be ultimately settled in a year and a half or so (in other words, just in time for it to become a 2016 presidential election year issue).

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