NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — Americans United for Life said a federal court ruling holding up most restrictions on abortion in Texas was “a sweeping victory for women.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld most provisions in a law that supporters of legal abortion say is an effort to block access to abortion in the state.
Pro-life groups argue the restrictions set standards for abortion clinics that will protect women’s health.
Among the law’s provisions is the requirement that abortion clinics meet the same health and safety standards as facilities that provide other outpatient surgeries. It says abortion providers have to maintain hospital admitting privileges so women who suffer post-abortion complications can receive emergency care at a hospital if they need it.
The law also prohibits abortions after 20 weeks and says that RU-486 and other abortion pills can only be dispensed by a doctor. In the case of RU-486, a two-day regimen, the second day’s dosage must be taken performed under doctor supervision and not at home.
“Texas has struck a decisive blow for women’s health and safety against a predatory abortion industry,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.
“A largely under-monitored, under-supervised, and secretive abortion industry tells women ‘trust but don’t verify that our clinics are clean and safe,'” she said in a statement. “No longer should women be abandoned to self-serving and false assurances from an industry that puts profits over people.”
The court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in the case include Whole Woman’s Health, Austin Women’s Health Center and Killeen Women’s Health Center.
Opponents of the Texas law say that the 5th Circuit’s ruling will force more abortion clinics in Texas to close. The state currently has 17 abortion clinics; in 2012 it had 40. An AP story said that with the restrictions being upheld, the only remaining abortion facilities will probably be in major cities.