Planned Parenthood: Court Continues to Ignore Health Care Disaster for Texas Women
Parenthood Texas Votes Action Fund Pledges to Continue Fight for Texas Women
AUSTIN, TX — Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied a petition asking the whole court to reconsider a ruling from last March that upheld a law requiring physicians who provide safe, legal abortion to enter into special business arrangements with local hospitals. When it went into effect last fall, this admitting privileges provision forced approximately one-third of the state’s licensed health centers that provide safe, legal abortion to stop providing services overnight. Due to this law, as well as a restriction requiring abortion providers to meet hospital-style regulations which the same court let take affect last week, the situation is now even more dire. The rulings of this court have left only eight remaining providers located in the metropolitan areas of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston.
The lawsuit, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, was jointly filed last fall on behalf of more than a dozen Texas health care providers and their patients by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Texas law firm George Brothers Kincaid & Horton.
Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:
“This Court has repeatedly ignored the devastation these laws cause to Texas women’s health and safety. This law causes harm to the health of Texas women — which is why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association opposed these restrictions. These laws hurt women who have already lost access to birth control and preventive health care because of reckless decisions by politicians. And these restrictions in Texas will force women to have abortions later in pregnancy, if they are able to get to a doctor at all. Presently, nearly a million Texas women of reproductive age now live more than a three hour drive to the nearest abortion provider, which are only left in big cities in the state.
“If Texans showed America one thing during the historic protests against these restrictions last summer, it’s that we have had enough of politicians who try to impose their beliefs on all Texans. To keep Texas strong, we need leaders who will defend a woman’s freedom to make decisions about her reproductive health, and who will protect access to basic health care — including birth control. You can’t win in Texas by working against Texas women. Texas women — and all Texans who care about women’s health and rights — are watching. We are fighting back. And we will vote for our rights this November.”
Last fall, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel originally struck down the admitting privileges restriction as unconstitutional, writing that it has “no rational relationship to improved patient care” and also “places an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion.” A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit, including a judge hostile to Roe v. Wade, stayed that ruling, allowing the law to take effect while the case proceeded on appeal. In March, the Fifth Circuit panel issued a final decision upholding the law. Today’s order means the court will not re-evaluate that decision.
In March, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas announced the launch of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Action Fund (PPTV), a statewide advocacy organization that will engage supporters of women’s health across the state to fight to protect and expand women’s access to health care. PPTV has also formed a state PAC to educate Texans about what’s at stake for women at the ballot box in 2014 and beyond.
The formation of this new organization comes at a time when the stakes for women and their access to safe, legal abortion and basic health care like cancer screenings and birth control could not be higher.
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