Analysts on both sides of the political spectrum say a request by Planned Parenthood for the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court panels' ruling upholding Texas' strict new abortion restrictions could result in the most significant ruling on abortion rights since the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"If they decide to take the case, it really could signal a different shift," said State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) a proponent of abortion rights.
Van de Putte was interviewed by 1200 WOAI's Michael Board while she was addressing the pro choice political action committee Annie's List in San Antonio. Also speaking at the convention was State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth), who's political ascent is due largely to her colorful 11 hour filibuster against the bill in the Legislature in July.
The provision which the U.S. Supreme Corut has been asked to consider is one that requires all abortion clinics to have a physician on staff who has admitting privileges at a hospital no more than thirty miles away. That provision has forced several abortion clinics to close their doors, or to stop doing abortions at certain times.
The question, according to pro choice activist Jody Jacobsen, is whether the Texas restrictions make abortion so difficult for a woman to get that it violates the spirit of Roe vs. Wade.
"To eliminate early, safe abortions by making women go through so many hoops that they can't possibly access it," she said. "Also, by closing so many clinics that women who live in rural areas or outside major cities don't have access to it."
Van de Putte says the restrictions are the key.
"We know what the law of the land is, so does where you live make a difference in access to those types of services," she said.
Several other states have approved, or are considering, similar laws restricting access to abortion.
The first hurdle pro choice activists face, is in Supreme Corut policy. Emergency appeals from Texas are routed to Justice Antonin Scalia, who is the most socially conservative judge on the court. Scalia has given the state eight days to respond to the request for the emergency order, meaning the restrictions will stay in place at least until then.
"The real question is, has the state overstepped its bounds in regard to women who live in different parts of the state, Texas being such a big state," Van de Putte said.