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“Planned Parenthood’s number-one priority is ensuring the health and safety of our patients, and we will continue to provide care,” said Cecile Richards

New York, NY – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied a petition asking the whole court to reconsider a ruling from last March that upheld a law requiring physicians who provide safe, legal abortion to enter into special business arrangements with local hospitals. These repeated rulings from this court have meant that abortion is now out of reach for women in vast stretches of Texas, as the remaining providers are located only in the metropolitan areas of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston. Nearly a million Texas women of reproductive age now live more than a three-hour drive to the nearest abortion provider. Today’s order comes just days after a ruling from a three-judge panel of the same court last week, which forced more than a dozen health centers to stop providing abortions. Only a few years ago, there were more than 40 health centers that provided safe, legal abortion in Texas — today, there are fewer than 10 — in a state with more than 5 million women of reproductive age.

The lawsuit, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, was jointly filed last fall on behalf of more than a dozen Texas health care providers and their patients by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Texas law firm George Brothers Kincaid & Horton.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“We all want to protect women’s health and safety. This law doesn’t do that — which is why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association opposed these restrictions.

“It is all hands on deck here — Planned Parenthood continues to provide safe, legal abortion in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, despite every obstacle in our path. Within hours of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling last week, we witnessed the catastrophic impact that these policies have had on women’s health care access — we’ve been inundated with calls from frightened and upset patients and seen women lined up outside our doors in the morning, waiting to see if they can still access the care they need. What keeps me up at night are the women who don’t come to us — who can’t drive hundreds of miles to access the care they need.

“And make no mistake — Texas women are not alone. This dangerous law is part of a national strategy by politicians and special interest groups to impose their beliefs on women and end access to safe, legal abortion.  Tragically, Texas has become a cautionary tale for the whole country. That’s why Planned Parenthood will stop at nothing to fight these dangerous restrictions on behalf of the women that rely on us.”

Last fall, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel originally struck down the admitting privileges law as unconstitutional, writing that it has “no rational relationship to improved patient care” and also “places an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion.”  A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit, including a judge hostile to Roe v. Wade, stayed that ruling, allowing the law to take effect while the case proceeded on appeal. In March, the Fifth Circuit panel issued a final decision upholding the law. Today’s order means that the whole court will not re-evaluate that decision.


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Planned Parenthood Federation of America


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October 09, 2014