The federal trial started today over the Texas abortion clinic restrictions that passed during this summer’s special session. Both sides have agreed to a bench trial, making the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, the final decision maker.
Lawyers from Planned Parenthood are trying to block the law from taking effect, saying portions of the law make access to abortion services for women in South and West Texas impossible.
Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood, Texas region, said the abortion law will close clinics where hospital boards don’t want to give abortion providers admitting privileges, a requirement under the new law in Texas.
"It is so extreme that we are going to be in the courthouse to talk about the extreme effect this would have on women’s access to safe, legal abortion services," Wheat said.
Kyleen Wright is the president of the group Texans for Life and was watching from inside the courtroom.
"They’ve admitted what we’ve said all along, that two-thirds of their doctors do have hospital privileges," Wright said. "It’s that third. If you’re digging and doing your homework you’re going to find out they have a lot of quack doctors who can’t qualify for these hospital admitting privileges and doesn’t have anything to do with abortions."
Testimony from doctors and expert witnesses is expected to last for the next two days. Yeakel is hoping to provide a speedy process and he, along with both sides, are readying themselves for an appeal to the 5th Circuit Court and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court.