Abortion Rights Group Asks Full 5th Circuit To Hear Case Against Texas Abortion Law

Apr 11, 2014

The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse, home of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Credit Photo taken by Bobak Ha'Eri, on May 31, 2007 / cc

The group of abortion rights and civil rights advocates that were defeated in their first challenge to the Texas hospital admitting rights component of the 2013 abortion law has re-filed a petition with the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the entire court to hear the merits of their challenge to the law.

Last month attorneys like Brigitte Amiri, who is the lead general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, learned that a three-judge judge panel sided with the State of Texas, saying that requiring doctors who perform abortion to possess hospital admitting privileges was constitutional. 

Based on the fact that some of the judges who heard their case were also on another panel that said the law could go into effect while awaiting a decision, Amiri said they decided the case needed to be heard before the full 5th Circuit Court.

"Two of the three judges that were on this panel of the decision that we got in March were also on that panel and allowed the law to take effect, so there was some prediction that at least a majority of the judges on the panel had already made a determination that the laws were constitutional,” Amiri said.

Amiri said having the full court hear their challenge will serve as a good indicator for what comes next.

"So whatever happens at this next stage, we absolutely can consider if we take the case up before the full U.S. Supreme Court," Amiri said.

Amiri said they’re also asking the court to re-hear their challenge the law’s medication abortion component, asking if there should be a health exception for some women who might be in danger of having to undergo another procedure.