Texas Right to Life files amicus brief in support of House Bill 2

Washington, D.C.- February 3, 2016Texas Right to Life and Texas Eagle Forum filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in support of House Bill 2, the Pro-Life Omnibus Bill that the Texas Legislature passed in 2013.  In the brief, the Pro-Life groups argue that SCOTUS has determined in the past that states have a right to pass and enforce higher safety standards for women undergoing elective abortions and that the failure of some abortion clinics to comply with the safety standards does not negate the commonsense law. 

In the case before SCOTUS, the Center for Reproductive Rights, representing Whole Women’s Health, argues that the ambulatory surgical center requirements and the requirement for abortionists to obtain admitting privileges pose an undue burden for Texas women seeking elective abortions.  In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, SCOTUS stipulated that unnecessary regulations should be examined under the “undue burden” test.  Texas Right to Life notes the Texas law is necessary and passes this rational basis test.  Texas legislators passed HB 2 in response to the atrocities witnessed in the Kermit Gosnell case, the accusations against Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen, the low standards discovered in state inspections of abortion clinics, and the abortion industry’s refusal to self-regulate.  In the HB 2 hearing, set for March 2nd, SCOTUS will likely attempt to clarify the vague notion of “undue burden,” which has been abused since the term was created without a meaningful definition.

In the brief, Texas Right to Life and Texas Eagle forum write:

“Significantly, the entire Texas abortion industry does not challenge HB 2 in this litigation.  If some elements of the abortion industry can meet HB 2’s standards, but these challengers cannot, Texas women deserve HB 2’s safety protections from the non-challenging elements of that industry.  Regulated industries do not and cannot have a heckler’s – or slacker’s – veto over reasonable state regulation, allowing even the laxest operators to invalidate regulations by threatening to close shop and thereby to underserve the market for their services.”

The abortion clinics that close as a result of the safety standards enforced under HB 2 are not subject to an undue burden, but rather choose not to comply with the state’s interest of protecting the health and safety of Texas women.

Texas Right to Life spearheaded the legislative efforts to pass HB 2, namely the Preborn Pain Act, in the Texas State Legislature in 2013 and has been involved in the two lawsuits challenging the commonsense law.  Texas Right to Life will be present at the SCOTUS arguments in March and covering developments in the court challenge until June, when a final decision from the high court is expected.