Good News: Texas anti-choice law blocked
Our other bit of good news can be filed under the heading "Take It Where You Find It."
Last year, the Texas legislature, which has become so frothingly reactionary that even Molly Ivins wouldn't have been able to find an amusing story about it, passed some of the worst anti-choice, anti-women's-freedom bills in the country.
The bill requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and required that all procedures take place in a surgical facility, that is, one that meets hospital-level standards - requirements that are made of no other clinics of any sort in the state. Another part of the bill, passed by people who in another context would screech about the horrors of "a government take-over of health care," limits when and where physicians may prescribe medications that can induce abortions.
In March, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court decision and upheld several of those restrictions in what Planned Parenthood accurately called a "terrible" ruling.
So where's the good news? Like I said, it's take it where you can get it but here it is:
On August 29, US District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with plaintiffs going after the part of the law which was not at issue in the earlier case, the requirement that clinics meets hospital-level standards, including operating rooms and air filtration systems. These are excessively stringent demands that would have left just seven such clinics in the entire state of Texas, population 26 million. The previous decision by the 5th Circuit upholding the law had already forced the closing of more than a dozen clinics; this rule would force the closing of 18 more.
As a result, Yeakel found that "The overall effect of the provisions is to create an impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion."
This victory may be short-lived: Yeakel also was the judge whose decision striking down other parts of this exercise in "back to 1900" ideology was overturned by the 5th Circuit.
But like I said, with good news you take it where you get it, in this case by knowing that those who believe in a woman's right to choose have not given up.
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