Pro-choice groups take Texas’s huge anti-choice law to court

Remember that epic anti-choice bill that became law in Texas, despite the inspiring efforts of pro-choice activists and made-for-TV-level-heroine and future Governor (fingers crossed!) Wendy Davis? Now the fight is headed to the courts.

On Friday, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against part of the law. Specifically, they’re asking the courts to block the provisions that, if allowed to go into effect at the end of October, would deal an immediate and drastic hit to abortion access: the restrictions on medication abortion and the requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The admitting privileges provision alone is expected to force 13 clinics to close their doors. (Check out these sad maps to get a sense of the geographic barriers that would create.)

What’s amazing is that this lawsuit isn’t even tackling all of terribleness in this massive law. It also includes a blatantly unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban (which advocates are letting slide for now) and ridiculous, medically unnecessary TRAP clinic regulations (things like how wide the hallways must be) which haven’t been specified yet but will likely lead to another round of clinic closures when they go into effect a year from now. 

Texas is a perfect example of how state anti-choice laws pile up. Overlay a bunch of seemingly minor restrictions on top of each other and suddenly you’re looking at a state where more than 130,000 women have lost access to preventative health care and folks have to drive 400 miles to get an abortion. “Any one of these restrictions would have a devastating impact across the state of Texas,” CRR’s Nancy Northup explains. “Together they would be catastrophic, making essential reproductive health care services for many Texans, especially poor and rural women, practically impossible to access.”

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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