Texas’ new abortion law is headed to court thanks to a federal lawsuit filed Friday by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The lawsuit targets specific portions of the Texas omnibus abortion bill, including provisions that would impose stricter sanitary standards on abortion clinics and require providers gain admitting privileges at local hospitals, NBC News reports.
Four to seven abortion clinics have already said they would be forced to close their doors due to a supposed inability to meet the basic requirements outlined in the new bill, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The lawsuit also opposes the provision of the bill that requires abortion medication providers follow FDA protocol for the administration of abortion-inducing pills.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Reproductive Rights, and at least a dozen abortion clinics have joined the lawsuit.
“I grew up in Texas and learned pretty early on that women only got what they fought for,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. “I think folks in the state have never fought harder.”
Despite frequent interruptions from the gallery and an 11-plus hour filibuster from State Senator Wendy Davis, the Texas Legislature earlier this year passed the omnibus bill. It was later signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Perry.
“Women shouldn’t have to go to court after every legislative session,” said Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northup, adding that “women’s rights now depend on where they live.”
The pro-abortion groups argue that “rather than protecting women’s health, the Act will harm Texas women. It will also violate Plaintiffs’ and their patients’ rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Interestingly enough, the group’s lawsuit does not take aim at the part of the omnibus abortion legislation that bans abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“The simple answer is that you can only do so much at once,” said Jim George, one of the case’s litigators.
Abortions after 20 week “are relatively rare and the immediate problem we’re facing here is that there are large parts of Texas that would be effectively precluded from ever getting an abortion by the statutes,” he said.
The groups may have also chosen to avoid the 20-week ban because abortions at that stage are extremely unpopular. Indeed, according to a recent poll from Quinnipiac, a plurality of American women oppose late-term abortions:
The pro-abortion groups filed suit with the U.S. District Court for the Western District, Austin Division, the NBC News report notes.
Provided Texas’ omnibus abortion legislation isn’t blocked in court, the new laws go into effect on October 29.
(H/T: Weasel Zippers). Featured image Getty Images.
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