Appeals Court Upholds Harmful Texas Abortion Restriction

March 27, 2014 10:20 pm

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ACLU National, 212-549-2666;
Tom Hargis, ACLU of Texas;
Jennifer Miller, Center for Reproductive Rights,
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NEW ORLEANS – A federal appeals court today upheld a provision of a Texas anti-abortion law that was previously struck down by a district court. The provision caused approximately one-third of the state’s licensed health centers to stop offering abortion when the law took effect.

The original lawsuit was filed in September 2013 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of more than a dozen women’s health care providers.

“Texas women deserve better than to have extremist politicians endanger their health and safety by preventing them from accessing safe and legal abortion,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “The law is having a devastating impact on women in Texas, and the court should have struck it down.”

The law at issue requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where they provide abortion services, a requirement that is impossible for many to meet. Major medical organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said that the law does not improve patient safety but instead harms women by shutting down abortion providers throughout the state. No other medical professionals are required to have admitting privileges.

“This is an extremely disappointing day for Texas women, especially those living in rural and poor areas most harmed by this politically motivated law,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “The law does nothing to protect women’s health. Instead, it severely limits women’s medical options. And from the time it was introduced, the people of Texas made it clear we didn’t want it, because it harms the well-being of women and their families.”

Other similar laws have been blocked in Alabama, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Mississippi.

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