The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday delivered a major victory to pro life advocates, declining to order an appeals court to block a major part of the Texas abortion law which was approved in the Legislature last summer, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Bridger Amiri, the lawyer for the Texas Civil Liberties Union, who had urged the high court to intervene, said she wasn’t surprised that the justices refused.
“Interim emergency relief that we were asking for is a pretty high bar,” she said.
The particular provision that Planned Parenthood of Texas was challenging would require all abortion clinics to have a doctor on staff who has admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. If that doctor is not on duty, abortions cannot be performed.
“Abortion has now become nearly impossible for some in Texas,” said Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood. “It depends on what your ZIP code is, where you live, whether you will have access to safe abortion or whether the Legislature has created enormous hurdles.”
But pro life groups were spiking the football following the decision.
“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas,” said Governor Perry. “They are both now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state.”
Pro choice groups say the ruling, which is expected to be formally implemented today by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will force the closing of several more of the roughly 38 abortion clinics still operating in Texas. Those who will stay open, will not be able to offer abortion services when the primary M.D. is not on duty.
“It is another great victory for life,” said State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), who is one of the authors of the bill.
This is far from the end of the debate. What was at issue was whether the law could be implemented in the interim, before a federal judge in Austin holds a trial on the merits of the law, which will probably happen in January.
Patrick said he feels good about the Fifth Circuit.
“I believe this law will stand,” Patrick said. “They supported our sonogram bill in 2011. I think this is a pro life court.”