The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld nearly all of the provisions of HB 2, Texas' extreme antiabortion law that requires abortion clinics to meet the hospital-like standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and mandates that abortion providers receive admitting privileges from nearby hospitals. The decision is expected to shutter all but a handful of abortion clinics across the state.
A three-judge panel ruled that Texas may mandate ASC standards for abortion clinics, which stipulate specific infrastructure requirements for centers that only a few clinics across the state -- all located in major metropolitan areas -- meet. The court granted an exception for the Whole Women's Health Clinic in McAllen, which a district court previously granted injunctive relief.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, which brought the lawsuit against the state on behalf of Texas abortion providers, also requested an exemption from the admitting privileges requirement for another center, Reproductive Services in El Paso; the provision mandates that doctors who perform abortions receive admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic. The court denied that request.
"Not since before Roe v. Wade has a law or court decision had the potential to devastate access to reproductive health care on such a sweeping scale," Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northup said. "Once again, women across the state of Texas face the near total elimination of safe and legal options for ending a pregnancy, and the denial of their constitutional rights."
Read the Fifth Circuit's ruling here.