In a crucial victory for Texas women and families, a federal district court held unconstitutional a law requiring physicians who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Texas court based its decision on evidence showing that the law would not protect women in any way, and would have a devastating effect on women in the state. Indeed, the court expressly found that the law has “no rational relationship to improved patient care” and serves no “valid purpose.” That is why leading medical experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Texas Hospital Association, all opposed the law.
The importance of today’s ruling cannot be overstated. Without it, more than one in three health centers in Texas would have closed. Women who already are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table for their families would have had to travel hundreds of miles to obtain abortion care. Luckily, the court’s decision protects those women.
But, unfortunately, the fight is far from over. Less than an hour after the decision, the state of Texas had already filed its appeal.
The ACLU is challenging similar laws in Alabama and Wisconsin where these laws threaten to shut down at least half the women’s health centers in each state. Comparable laws are being challenged in North Dakota and Mississippi, where they threaten to shut down the sole providers in each state.
The courts are recognizing that these laws are nothing but backdoor attempts to shut down women’s health centers and outlaw abortions. It’s long past time for politicians to stop interfering with a woman’s personal decision-making and to leave the medical decisions to a woman and her doctor.