Texas Abortion Law Undergoes Another Reversal This Week

Split beliefs on the abortion issue. From right to left, photo by: Steve Rainwater and Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Texas Tribune
The controversial Texas abortion law has undergone another reversal. Three days after a judge blocked part of the law, an appeals court reversed the block.

Abortion clinics were not happy with the law that passed the Texas Legislature this past summer.

But they did feel a small victory earlier this week when a federal judge blocked part of the law, the part that required abortion doctors to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

But that victory was short-lived.

Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, and the three judges there said that provision can now go into effect.

It’s estimated that one dozen clinics will have to stop performing abortions, or a third of the clinics in Texas.

“I think we’re all still just reeling right about now.”

Kathy Kleinfeld is a consultant for abortion clinics.

She named some clinics that would have stop providing abortions for now, including clinics in Austin, Fort Worth, Lubbock, McAllen and Waco.

But Kleinfeld says all abortion clinics will be affected.

If some of their doctors have the privileges, and some don’t, that reduces capacity.

And the remaining clinics will have to serve the patients turned away from clinics that close. 

“Which means women will wait, have to wait, there will be waiting lists. Which will cause a delay in them seeking services which will make them further along in the pregnancy when they do seek abortion services.”

Governor Rick Perry praised the ruling in a statement and said he would continue fighting to protect the culture of life in Texas.

Priscilla Smith teaches reproductive justice at Yale Law School.

She also argued a major abortion case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Smith questions why the state would essentially leave it up to private hospitals to decide whether a nearby abortion clinic can continue to stay in business.

“The real issue is you have laws being passed which have no valid purpose. You have laws being passed which do not protect women’s health, that that’s a pretextual claim and everybody knows it and the real purpose of these laws is to make abortions inaccessible to as many women as possible.”

Smith says the abortion clinics could file an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court about the admitting privileges.

If that doesn’t work, they could do a regular appeal but that could take a long time. 

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...