Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The latest on abortion access in rural America

The New York Times reports tonight that Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas will appeal a decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, handed down last week, which affirmed an earlier decision to uphold the constitutionality of S.B. 2.  I have written about it here and have forthcoming in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice an article prompted by the Abbott case and lots of laws similar to S.B. 2 that have been passed in other state houses in the last few years.   My article, co-authored with Marta Vanegas, is titled Urbanormativity, Judicial Blindspots, and the Undue Burden Standard and I hope to have a draft available for download soon.

Here is an excerpt from Erik Eckholm's report today:
The rule, part of a sweeping anti-abortion law passed last year, requires that all clinics providing abortions at any stage of pregnancy, including nonsurgical drug-induced abortions, meet the costly building standards of ambulatory surgery centers.  
Only six of the state’s 24 abortion clinics now meet that standard, which will take effect Sept. 1.
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The new suit comes less than a week after a federal appeals court refused to overturn another provision of the 2013 law that has already forced several clinics to close, leaving the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas without abortion services. That provision required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges in nearby local hospitals, a rule that has proved impossible to meet in several smaller cities where clinics use visiting doctors. But the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, held that the requirement did not pose an undue burden on access to abortion since many other clinics continued to function. 
The effort to block the surgery center requirement may be more likely to prevail in the appeals court, legal experts said, if the clinics can show that it imposes still greater burdens on abortion rights, without commensurate benefits.
In other news of recent efforts to regulate abortion, John Schwartz reported earlier this week from Arizona on a federal judge's decision to block a state law that is one of the nation's most restrictive regarding the use of a particular abortion drug.  

And here is a story also from the past week on the West Virginia Governor's veto of a law that would have made it unconstitutional to perform an abortion in that state after 20 weeks of pregnancy.   

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