Despite a federal appeals court upholding the state’s landmark women’s health legislation passed in the summer of 2013–forcing the closure of unsafe abortion clinics–a new round of legal challenges are being brought by abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood.
Now, Planned Parenthood and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the state from implementing the health and safety standards.
Among other things, the law required that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinic and that the clinics themselves meet the same health standards as other surgical centers. Since passage of the law, more than a dozen abortion facilities have closed their doors.
The president of the New York group, Nancy Northup, said they were filing the suit because of they fear “plunging millions of women back into the darkness and grave danger of illegal abortion that Roe v Wade was supposed to end.”
The suit specifically asks that the requirement for hospital admitting privileges be exempted for Whole Women’s Health clinic in McAllen and a reproductive services clinic in El Paso, according to the El Paso Times.
A spokeswoman for the state’s largest pro-life advocacy group, Texas Right to Life, says the restrictions are necessary to protect women from unsafe clinics and unqualified physicians.
“Both the majority of Texans and Texas legislators backed the regulations and supported the law’s intent to protect women from the type of abortionist unable to meet basic healthcare standards,” said Melissa Conway in a media release issued April 2.
“Claiming that these two clinics provide services to ‘underserved’ areas in Texas is the latest ploy for this request, indicating that abortionists may not be able to secure privileges at a nearby hospital and thereby, women who suffer abortion complications would be endangered if not transferred to a hospital.”
A spokesman for Texas Values, a non-profit focused on faith and family issues, told Breitbart Texas that the new lawsuits demonstrate that the “abortionists are losing.”
“They are on the wrong side of history. They are losing in the courts, they are losing in legislatures, and they are losing in the hearts of the people. This lawsuit is just a sign of their desperation,” said David Walls, the director of operations for Texas Values. “This lawsuit just shows the utter desperation of the pro-abortion side, who are seeking to protect their industry over commonsense safety regulations.”
Because pro-life legislation was generally stalled during the regular session by House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), 65 Republicans petitioned Gov. Rick Perry to include those measures on the call of a special session. The result was House Bill 2, landmark omnibus legislation cheered by pro-life organizations.
State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) stepped into the national spotlight–and thereby launching a gubernatorial bid–unsuccessfully opposing the legislation.
Both Straus and one of his closest confidants, State Rep. Dan Branch (R-Highland Park), have received past praise from abortion-rights groups. Branch is now in a run-off race for Attorney General with conservative State Sen. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney).
Michael Quinn Sullivan is head of Empower Texans, an organization that has endorsed State Senator Ken Paxton and been highly critical of House Speaker Joe Straus.
Follow Michael Quinn Sullivan on Twitter @MQSullivan