The Supreme Court of the United States ruled on Monday to stay the order of a lower federal court requiring abortion clinics in Texas to close or remain closed. The order from the court in Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Cole, Comm’r, Texas DHS, et al. maintains the status quo while the Court decides whether to decide the case on the merits on any appeal.
Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito, voted to deny the application for stay.
Breitbart Texas reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld on June 9th the strict abortion clinic restrictions passed into law by the Texas legislature. These are the same restrictions that Democrat Texas Senator Wendy Davis temporarily blocked during her 13-hour filibuster.
Under the law, Texas House Bill 2, abortion clinics must now meet the same operating-room standards as hospitals. The Fifth Circuit ordered that enumerated abortion clinics must be shut down by July 1st.
Pro-abortion groups call the strict legislation in Texas “sham laws” and complain they “are shutting clinics down and placing countless women at risk of serious harm,” as reported by Breitbart News.
The Supreme Court ruled that if the court declines to hear the appeal, the stay granted today will terminate automatically.
In the event the petition for an appeal to the court, called a petition for writ of certiorari, is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the issuance of the judgment of the court.
Joe Pojman, executive director for Texas Alliance for Life, said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, “We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has temporarily prevented the enforcement of the challenged provisions of HB 2, which would improve safety standards at abortion facilities in Texas. Unfortunately, women who do not have abortions at any of the nine operating ambulatory surgical centers that perform abortions will continue to be subjected to substandard medical care. ”
We remain optimistic that the Supreme Court will uphold the safety standards in House Bill 2 if they even decide to take the appeal. For the time being the status quo remains in effect:
- Abortion-inducing drugs must continue to be administered according to the FDA regulations in the presence of a physician.
- The hospital admitting privileges rule continues to apply across the state, with an exception for the Whole Woman’s Health abortion facility in McAllen.
- The ambulatory surgical center safety requirements cannot be enforced anywhere in the state for 10 non-ASC abortion facilities.
In a statement obtained from Greg Abbott by Breitbart Texas after the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas governor stated that “HB 2 was a constitutional exercise of Texas’ lawmaking authority that was correctly and unanimously upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Texas will continue to fight for higher-quality healthcare standards for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn, and I’m confident the Supreme Court will ultimately uphold this law.”
“The Highest Court in our country just put Texas women in harm’s way,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “HB 2 ensures abortion clinics and doctors meet basic health standards if they choose to operate their businesses in Texas. Today’s delay subjects Texas women to substandard care all to the benefit of the abortion industry’s bottom line.”
This article was updated to add additional comments from the Texas Attorney General.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served the state of Texas as a prosecutor and an associate family court judge. Follow her on Twitter@LanaShadwick2