NEW ORLEANS, LA - The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has restored controversial provisions of a new Texas abortion law.
During the summer Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5 which was also known as House Bill 2 (HB2). The bill requires abortion doctors to have privileges to admit patients at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion procedure. HB2 also put restricts when and where abortion drugs can be administered.
Planned Parenthood of Texas sued the state to stop enforcement of the law – parts of which were to take effect on Tuesday. A federal judge sided with Planned Parenthood and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal.
The Fifth Circuit said in a 20-page opinion, “We first consider the hospital-admitting-privileges provision of H.B. 2 and whether the State has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits. We conclude that it has.”
The Fifth Circuit ruled that the state has the right to regulate doctors’ credentials beyond just a medical license. The Fifth Circuit also ruled that the state produced evidence that the law would prevent a doctor from simply leaving a woman to her own devices in the event an abortion went wrong.
As for the restriction on abortion drugs the Fifth Circuit indicated that the state did not make as strong of a case. However, the appeals court found that an injunction imposed by a federal judge went too far. So the Fifth Circuit ruled that for now the new abortion law can be enforced.
It is not a final ruling and both sides will have a chance to make arguments before the Fifth Circuit in January.
Several local prosecutors including Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell were initially included in the lawsuit. The prosecutors agreed to not enforce the new law while it was challenged in the federal court system. In exchange, Planned Parenthood agreed to dismiss the prosecutors from their lawsuit.