Today, US District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled against the historic Pro-Life law, House Bill 2, passed by the Texas Legislature during the Second Special Session of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Perry on July 18. HB 2 bans elective abortions on preborn children at five months of development when they can feel pain, and the bill raises the medical standard for abortionists and abortion clinics.
Rather than furthering the original intent of HB2, to protect women and life, Yeakel by his ruling further jeopardizes the health of abortion-vulnerable women. The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Center for Reproductive Rights, and other abortion providers to stop the law from taking effect tomorrow.
Yeakel wrote in his ruling, “[T]he act's admitting-privileges provision is without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”
However, the federal judge also concluded that the restrictions on chemical abortions (RU-486) do not place such an obstacle, except when the abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman. The loophole for lower standards for women whose life or health is threatened is absurd. If a woman’s physical life were truly in danger, a chemical abortion that involves ingesting multiple pills over a course of 48 hours would not be reasonable “emergency care.”
A critical part of the bill, the ban of abortions after 5 months when scientific evidence confirms that preborn children can feel pain, was left unchallenged. Instead, the lawsuit challenged the provisions of the bill that raise medical standards of abortion providers. Yeakel's decision affirmed the abortionist's desire to protect the abortion industry’s bottom line.
Yeakel’s decision will stop the state from implementing the 30-mile rule that requires abortion doctors to secure admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their abortion practice.
Even though Yeakel’s ruling places two major parts of the Pro-Life law on hold, the decision today is not final. As recently as last year, Judge Yeakel similarly sided with abortion advocates in blocking a Pro-Life policy to exclude abortionists and their affiliates from participating in the Women’s Health Program, a taxpayer funded health care program for low-income women. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned Yeakel on the WHP, affirming that Texas has the legal right to keep taxpayer dollars from abortion clinics and their affiliates.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott confirmed that he and his capable team of attorneys will immediately appeal today’s ruling. “The majority of Texans continue to elect Pro-Life legislators who pass measures such as HB 2 bill so the abortion extremists have to resort to activist judges to advance their agenda. Attorney General Abbott is just the right statesman to defend this life-saving law throughout the appellate process.”
Texas Right to Life continues to work alongside Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott and their teams on legal strategy until HB 2 is fully enacted and enforced. Please check in for more updates and commentary at www.TexasRightToLife.com.