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We are Not Giving Up, Texas Women

Brigitte Amiri,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
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November 4, 2013

Today we filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court to temporarily block a Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortion to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Simply put, the law is wreaking havoc on women throughout the state. More than a dozen of the state’s 35 licensed abortion facilities lack a physician who has admitting privileges. As a result, they have been forced to stop providing crucial services to women. Other facilities have reduced capacity because only some of their physicians have admitting privileges.

Requiring admitting privileges of abortion providers is simply a backdoor attempt to shut providers down. As the District Court found after a trial, admitting privileges do nothing to ensure patient safety. This is why the American Congress of Obstetrician and Gynecologists Texas Medical Association, and the Texas Hospital Association opposed the law.

The District Court also found that the law would impose a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking abortion. That is actually happening on the ground in today. On Friday, the first day the law took effect, women showed up for their appointments only to be turned away upon learning that the health center was forced to stop providing abortion because of the law. Women were frustrated, angry, and in tears. In large parts of the state, including the Rio Grande Valley, there is no abortion provider. One woman whose appointment at a Harlingen health center was cancelled said that she did not have the money to travel north, and she would likely be forced to carry to term if the law is not blocked.

If the constitutional right to abortion means anything, it must mean that a law that prevents women from obtaining abortion is impermissible. We hope that the Supreme Court will agree, and will protect Texas women.

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