Excellent news, for a while at least, maybe: A federal judge hasoverturned part of Texas's terrible abortion law, House Bill 2, which means that the state's remaining clinics can stay open. The new restrictions, which would have gone into effect Monday, required clinics performing abortions to meet the same standards as hospital-based outpatient surgical facilities, and would have closed all but seven clinics in the state.


U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that requiring abortion facilities to comply with the standards of ambulatory surgical centers would reduce access so much that it would put an unconstitutional burden on Texas women seeking the procedure.

"The ambulatory-surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a previability abortion," Yeakel ruled, blocking enforcement of the requirement scheduled to take effect Monday.

The ruling also exempted clinics in El Paso and McAllen from another provision of the law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Judge Yeakel called the law

"a brutally effective system of abortion regulation that reduces access to abortion clinics, thereby creating a statewide burden for substantial numbers of Texas women."

Wendy Davis, whose filibuster against an earlier version of the bill made her a national figure and led to her campaign for governor, called the ruling "a "victory for women's health care."

"These decisions should only be made between a woman, her doctor and her God — not Austin politicians like Attorney General Greg Abbott, who would make abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest," said Davis[.]

Women planning to celebrate at their local Abortionplex are advised to hurry up, however, since Attorney General Greg Abbott's office plans an immediate appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Last year, when Yeakel tossed House Bill 2's provision requiring hospital admitting provisions for all doctors performing abortions, the ruling held for less than a week before being overturned by the 5th Circuit. That restriction ended up closing dozens of clinics in Texas. Supporters of the right to choose may have some reason for optimism, considering that other federal courts have blocked restrictions in other southern states, striking down laws that would have closed Mississippi's last remaining abortion clinic and all but two clinics in Alabama.

It's also likely that both the admitting-privileges and surgical-center rulings will be appealed to the Supreme Court, which will probably resolve the issue by ruling that women can have access to abortion at any clinic as long as they have a note from their employers.

[NYT / Houston Chronicle / Texas Tribune]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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