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Federal Judge Denies Temporary HB 2 Injunction for El Paso Clinic

by: Natalie San Luis

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:00 PM CDT

On Wednesday, Judge Lee Yeakel denied a request for a preliminary injunction against the HB 2 admitting privileges requirement for Reproductive Services in El Paso.

The clinic was forced to stop providing abortion services on Friday, April 11 after the Texas Department of State Health Services claimed that the licensed practitioner did not have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The abortion provider at Reproductive Services El Paso had previously been granted admitting privileges, which were later revoked without notice, forcing the clinic to cancel all future appointments.

Read more about the ruling after the jump.

According to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, the clinic's practitioner held temporary admitting privileges at Foundation Hospital through May 13, 2014. However, after the DSHS sent the notice to Whole Woman's Health on April 11, the hospital claimed that it would no longer honor the doctor's admitting privileges.

Given the unexpected withdrawal of admitting privileges, the clinic asked the court to issue a temporary injunction on the requirement to prevent El Paso women from traveling across state lines for abortion services.

There is only one licensed, legal abortion clinic between San Antonio and El Paso.

The Texas Tribune reported:

Stephanie Toti, a senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the coalition of abortion providers, argued that the admitting privileges rule would force abortion seekers in El Paso to travel to New Mexico, where providers are not required to have privileges.

"It's the very definition of arbitrary," said Toti, adding that many impoverished women in El Paso have limited access to transportation.

Whole Woman's Health and other reproductive justice advocates have filed another federal lawsuit challenging the HB 2 requirement that all abortion clinics meet building requirements for ambulatory surgical centers, or mini-hospitals.

Additionally, abortion providers have petitioned for the entire 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the HB 2 ruling.

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