Texas Abortion Clinics to Reopen After Federal Judge's Ruling

Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 10:51 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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An appeals court ruled on Tuesday that new restrictions placed on abortion clinics in Texas cannot yet go into effect, which will allow several abortion facilities to reopen, The New York Times reported

The order released Tuesday by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily upholds an August 29 ruling by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel that struck down parts of a new Texas abortion law.

In his ruling, Judge Yeakel contended that requiring abortion clinics to meet hospital-like facility health and safety standards would place unconstitutional obstacles to women’s access to abortion. Yeakel's ruling also exempted clinics in McAllen and El Paso from an already upheld requirement that doctors who perform abortions obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The requirement, which was supposed to take effect on Sept. 1, would have forced about 12 of the state’s remaining 19 abortion clinics to close, according to The Times.

Shortly after Yeakel's ruling was handed down, Whole Woman's Health announced Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth and Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio would remain open and that their location in McAllen, Texas, which closed in March, would reopen.

"Our model of care has not changed — we will still provide the safest, most affordable, and most holistic abortion care in all of our communities," read a statement posted on the blog of Whole Woman's Health, which describes itself as a privately owned feminist organization that provides holistic health care, including abortions. 

Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said she hopes to reopen her clinic in McAllen by the end of the week.

“We have our hearts set on reopening our clinics for the Texas communities that have counted on us for over a decade now for safe, compassionate, professional care. We hope an ultimate legal victory will allow us to remain open and serve those communities,” Miller told The Dallas Morning News.

In an appeal of Yeakel's decision, Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott contends the order “appears to invalidate the admitting-privileges law across the board,” according to CBS' Dallas-Fort Worth local affiliate

That court has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 12.

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