Fifth Circuit reinstates Texas anti-choice restrictions

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Late yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Tuesday’s injunction by the lower court of Texas’ draconian anti-choice law. The three- judge panel, all appointed by President George W. Bush, granted the state’s request to reinstate the law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (within 30 miles) in order to provide legal abortion care. As we’ve previously covered, the Texas anti-choice law will lead to the closure of nearly one-third of Texas abortion care providers, which as Judge Yaefel noted in his decision on Tuesday, “does nothing to protect women’s health.”

The logistics of implementing the law reveal the intent of Texas anti-choice legislators: the law mires providers in a lengthy and cumbersome bureaucratic process, a system designed for outright failure and rejection of abortion doctors to secure necessary credentials in adherence to the law. As RH Reality Check notes:

Researchers at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project testified during court proceedings that the admitting privileges provision would block 22,286 Texans from accessing legal abortion. Because of lengthy application processes and abortion stigma, as well as religious objections to the procedure on the part of certain hospitals and hospital boards, abortion providers in Texas said during court proceedings that they have been unable to obtain the required admitting privileges in the time allotted after the law passed, and in many cases expect to be rejected outright.

The Fifth Circuit Court is known as one of the most conservative circuit courts in the nation, with an openly anti-choice judge sitting on its bench. This latest development ensures that Texas’s challenge to women’s constitutional right for safe and legal abortions in the United States could very well reach the Supreme Court’s docket within the year.

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