Groups File Lawsuit Challenging New Texas Abortion Clinic Law

Sep 27, 2013

Three Abortion-rights groups have filed a lawsuit against Texas’ new abortion law challenging two of four provisions in the law. 

The national offices for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood of Texas and the ACLU of Texas along with 12 abortion clinics filed the lawsuit in federal court challenging the law’s requirement that all abortion doctors have admitting hospital privileges and that doctor’s to follow FDA guidelines for the drug RU-486 -- both would take effect Oct. 29.

"If you are a 16-year-old in Ozona, Texas who finds herself pregnant in a single-parent home making near minimum wage there is no way you can get to Houston or Dallas or San Antonio to get an abortion," said Jim George, the group's attorney.

Amy Hagstrom Miller with Whole Women’s Health, who is one of the clinics in the suit, said that is because the admitting privilege requirement will close all of the clinics west of IH-35 and east of El Paso because there are no hospitals within a 30 mile radius of these clinics.

"I would be facing the closing of three out of five of our facilities if the privileges go into effect on the 29 of October," Miller said. "And we don’t have the kind of overhead or budget to sustain a closure and sort of hang on for 3 to 6 months until something was to be reversed or enjoined."

"The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Association all agree that the provisions of this bill will put women’s health in danger," said Planned Parenthood Executive Director Cecile Richards.

Attorneys  will file an injunction on Monday that stops the law from taking effect.

Republicans aren't surprised

State sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, who authored the portion of the bill addressing restrictions for the abortion drug RU-486, said there was already talk about the lawsuit when the bill was being debated.

"I’m not shocked, every time the Democrats lose they go to court and sue," Patrick said. "We saw this on the sonogram bill that I passed in 2011 and they lost. On this issue they will lose again and we’ll prevail, it’s a solid bill."

State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg of Parker carried the bill in the House and told the groups who filed the lawsuit to "bring it on."

"I think they are treading on very weak ground," Laubenberg said, "but I welcome the lawsuit if that’s what they want to do to me I’m not afraid to have that discussion. I’m willing to do that every day because we’re on the right side of that issue."

Laubenberg said she welcomes the lawsuit because it allows Texas’ new law to gain a national spotlight on abortion restrictions that protect women.

See the full text of the lawsuit below: