FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2014
Appeals Court Allows Unconstitutional Abortion Restrictions That Block Abortion Access For Thousands of Women Across Texas
“Planned Parenthood’s number one priority is ensuring the health and safety of our patients, and we will continue to provide care,” said Planned Parenthood
Houston, TX – Yesterday, a 2-1 decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of several Texas abortion providers, ruled against Texas women and allowed abortion restrictions to eviscerate women’s access to safe and legal abortion in the state. The stay issued by the Fifth Circuit means that all of the provisions of HB2 will be enforced against all abortion providers in Texas, leaving fewer than ten abortion providers statewide.
As a result, abortion will no longer be available in vast stretches of Texas, as the remaining providers will be located in metropolitan areas, such as Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston. These final requirements allowed to take effect require doctors who provide abortions to have staff privileges at a nearby hospital and abortion providers to meet onerous and medically unnecessary facility requirements (complex heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, size of operating rooms, specific requirements for the flooring and outfitting of janitors closets). But the dissenting judge explained that the record in the case shows that they will not help women: “Based on the record established at trial, assessed firsthand by the district court, I do not perceive that Texas has demonstrated urgency, medical or otherwise, to immediate enforcement. After hearing conflicting expert testimony, the district court found that “abortion in Texas [is] extremely safe with particularly low rates of serious complications,” and further found that “risks are not appreciably lowered for patients who undergo abortion at ambulatory surgical centers.”
Statement from Melaney A. Linton, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
“Yesterday's ruling is devastating for women and their access to safe, legal abortion. Women’s rights and ability to make personal, medical decisions should not depend on their zip code. We are committed to helping Texas women and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect access to health care. Our doors remain open and Planned Parenthood continues to provide safe, legal abortion in Houston.
“Protecting women’s health and ensuring they have access to the full range of reproductive health care—including safe, legal abortion- are top priorities for Planned Parenthood. In the wake of yesterday’s decision, we are working with providers in our community to ensure that women get the care they need. We are making accommodations to meet patients’ needs and expanding access to patient assistance funds that will help women to access medical care. We all want women to be safe, and together we will work tirelessly to prevent any further harm to women’s health.
“Texas women are facing a health care disaster at the hands of a small and extreme group of politicians. We are already witnessing the catastrophic impact that these policies have had on women’s health care access. This court’s decision will make a bad situation worse and further harm women—particularly women in rural areas of the state, where it could be virtually impossible for some women to access safe, legal abortion. We are committed to helping Texas women and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect access to health care.”
October 03, 2014