The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block controversial the Texas abortion ban that require doctors who perform abortions be affiliated with a nearby hospital, and bans abortion after 5 months.
The court by a 5-4 vote denied a request by Planned Parenthood to block a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows key parts of the Texas abortion law to stay in effect while the case plays out.
The ruling means that the provision — which Planned Parenthood is erroneously arguing would make it virtually impossible for Texas women to get an abortion — simply requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital within a certain geographic location, and will remain in effect.
After suffering a series of setbacks, the pro-life movement has scored a temporary victory with the ruling, keeping the restrictions in place for the remainder of the duration the case plays out.
Bans on late-term abortions enjoy widespread support among the American people, but liberal activist judges have struck down prior attempts to implement reforms on the state level.
The Texas abortion ban represents one of several recent pushes following the horrific case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell to restrict abortion after 20 – 24 weeks, or 5 -6 months. Recent scientific studies have found that developing babies around that stage of development feel pain, setting a renewed pro-life movement on course.
Unsurprisingly, the four liberal justices who voted in favor of the hearing the request telegraphed that they would have overturned the appeals court’s October 31 ruling that allowed the law to take effect.
In its 20-page ruling, the panel of appeals court judges acknowledged that the law’s provision requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital “may increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions.”
However, the panel said that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that having “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate” a valid law that serves a legitimate purpose, “one not designed to strike at the right itself.” The provision has led at least 12 clinics in the state to stop performing abortions since the ruling, because they cannot meet the basic threshold for safety.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday said they are “pleased” with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“These are commonsense – and perfectly constitutional – regulations that further the state’s interest in protecting the health and safety of Texas women,” Lauren Bean said. In fact, the Supreme Court has already set precedent protecting a woman’s right to abort a pregnancy in the first trimester, but also protects the ability of lawmakers to ban late-term abortions.
Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said, of course, that he was happy with the court’s decision.
“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions,” Perry said.
The appeals court panel left in place a portion of a previous judge’s order that prevents the state from enforcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol for abortion-inducing drugs in cases where the woman is between 50 and 63 days into her pregnancy. Doctors testifying before the court had said such women would be harmed if the protocol were enforced.
The appeals court’s order is temporary until it can hold a complete hearing, likely in January.
During the trial proceedings, so-called officials for the abortion industry testified that they’ve tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision.
Certain hospitals with religious beliefs will not be allowing abortion doctors to work at their facilities.