Parties for the abortion clinics in Whole Woman’s Health, et al. at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, have filed a letter stating that 11 clinics will be forced to close down if the Court does not grant the abortion clinic’s motion to stay the Court’s June 9th opinion. The abortion clinics ask the Court to rule on their motion by June 19th because ruling by this date would permit them to appeal to the United States Supreme Court before the July 1st date to close the clinics.
On June 9th, the Fifth Circuit upheld the strict abortion clinic restrictions passed into law by the Texas legislature during the 2013 session. The restrictions are those which Democrat Texas Senator Wendy Davis temporarily blocked during her 13-hour filibuster. Under the law, abortion clinics must now meet the same operating room standards as hospitals.
On June 10th, the abortion providers filed a motion to stay the Court’s June 9th mandate.
The Fifth Circuit issued a letter on June 11th directing the abortion providers to file a letter by June 12th with the Court stating what clinics “would be ‘forced to close’ (as asserted in the Motion to Stay) if [their] Motion to Say the Mandate were denied.”
Abortion clinics and abortion proponents complain that meeting hospital standards would cost millions of dollars and put them out of business. They complain this would once again cause major closures of clinics in the state of Texas. They argue that closing these clinics down will limit access to abortion facilities by women.
As reported by Breitbart News, pro-abortion groups call the strict laws in Texas “sham laws” and complain they “are shutting clinics down and placing countless women at risk of serious harm.” Only seven abortion clinics in Texas meet the requirements. These are operated by Planned Parenthood.
Joe Pojman, Executive Director for Texas Alliance for Life, told Breitbart Texas, “The purpose of HB 2 is to assure that abortions are not done in a manner that endangers the health and safety of women.”
The Texas Alliance for Life Director continued, “We believe that women undergoing elective abortion should not be subject to a lower standard of care than anyone else would receive for comparable outpatient procedures at an ambulatory surgical center.”
“These smaller abortion facilities should have raised their standard of care years ago to the level of ambulatory surgical centers,” Pojman continued. “Because HB 2 is a well-drafted law, we believe it has an excellent chance of being upheld by the Supreme Court.”
The letter sent by counsel for the abortion facilities, Stephanie Toti, states: “Prior to the enactment of the challenged requirements, Texas had 41 licensed facilities providing abortion services on a regular basis. By the time of trial, that number had fallen to 20. Today it stands at 19.”
The lawyer for Whole Woman’s Health facilities continues, “The initial factor driving the reduction in abortion facilities was the admitting-privileged requirement. Shortly after its enactment, 8 facilities that could not comply ceased providing abortion services.”
The counsel for the abortion providers said that 11 more facilities were closed after a “preenforcement challenge to the admitting-privileges requirement was unsuccessful.”
“Since then, several more facilities have had to cease providing abortion services permanently or during long intervals as hospitals have declined to renew their doctors’ admitting privileges,” Toti states.
The abortion providers urge the Court to grant their motion to stay because “of the 19 facilities currently providing abortion services in Texas on a regular basis, only eight would be able to continue providing those services as of July 1, 2015, if [their] motion for a stay is denied.” They argue that a clinic in El Paso would not be able to reopen, and a clinic in McAllen would be shut down for an indefinite period of time.
In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Texas Right to Life counters, “Since the passage of HB 2, abortionists have attempted to campaign on the premise of caring about the medical needs of women. Yet, unyielding, the abortion industry continues to advance unwarranted scrutiny against a law that not only protects Life, but also regulates an industry that cuts corners and hides medical information and reporting data. HB 2 simply requires abortionists to integrate into the larger medical community and finally adhere to rational standards of patient care.”
The statement from Texas Right to Life continues, “Through the passage and defense of HB 2, Texas has shown the need for competent personnel under conditions insuring maximum safety for the woman. This prudent and thoughtful regard for the health and safety of women stands in stark contrast to the strategies launched by the abortion industry to protect their bottom line, not the health and safety of Texas women.”
Briscoe Cain, In-House Counsel for Students for Life America, provided a statement to Breitbart Texas:
Dear Stephanie Toti,
True Texans only regret that we have yet to shut down all abortion facilities.
The pro-death lobby now finds itself grasping at straws. However all the Fifth Circuit can give them is a postponement of the inevitable.
The pro-life movement has been steadily gaining ground since 1992. For 37 straight Gallup Polls, a majority of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Monthly we hear of abortion clinic closures across the US because of the enactment of laws similar to those we have enacted in Texas.
The humane thing for the Court to do is to deny the reprieve and sentence the 10 plus clinics to death. The closure of these clinics is certain, whether it is today or next session.
Board certified appellate lawyer Leif Olson from Houston told Breitbart Texas, “This is just the next procedural step in the case. It’s not a surprise. Losing parties frequently ask the Court to press ‘pause’ on its judgment so they have time to ask the Supreme Court to review the case.”
Olson added, “They are repeating the arguments that they already made. Those arguments already lost, and they’re not likely to convince the Court to change its mind now. That said, most courts prefer to avoid disrupting the parties’ same real-world positions unless a ruling is final. So even a granted pause, whether by the appellate court or the Supreme Court, doesn’t tell us much about a possible Supreme Court ruling.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter@LanaShadwick2