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New Trial Set to Challenge Omnibus Abortion Bill Set for August

by: Genevieve Cato

Thu May 08, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Following the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to uphold the admitting privileges provision of House Bill 2, the omnibus abortion bill passed last summer, Whole Woman's Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights brought another lawsuit to challenge a different provision in the law.

This time, the lawsuit focuses on the physical changes to facilities required under House Bill 2, which are already forcing some clinics out of business.

More on the upcoming trial and this new tactic to challenge abortion restrictions in the state below the jump.

The lawsuit focuses on the requirement that all clinics meet licensing standards for Ambulatory Surgical Centers, and will take place on August 4th, San Antonio Express News reports.This latest legal challenge to Texas' sweeping abortion restrictions aims to block a regulation that requires clinics to meet the standards of an outpatient surgical center. Explaining why this lawsuit was necessary, Founder, CEO, and President of Whole Women's Health Amy Hagstrom Miller said:

In our rush to do all we can to comply with yet another restriction placed on women's access to abortion in Texas we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture; we must reject the premises these laws were passed on at its base and fight to block them going into effect, or get them overturned.

Our elected officials lied to all of us, HB2 has nothing to do with improving women's health and safety; but rather it is a proven and successful strategy to end safe abortion care for women in Texas.

For too long elected officials in Texas have played political football with women's lives. We are disappointed to have to file this lawsuit today, but we are committed to the women of Texas. Whole Woman's Health will be here no matter what, fighting these laws and fighting to keep our clinics open and of service to the women who need us.

Clinics across the state are closing their doors in advance of the September deadline for meeting these requirements for their facilities. For most clinics, these ridiculous and unnecessary standards are completely unrealistic goals for their financial capacity. House Bill 2 is having its desired effect: abortion is getting increasingly harder to access in the state of Texas.  

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel gave the trial the go-ahead for August. This places the trial immediately before the September 1st deadline for clinics to meet ASC standards, and could be the only thing standing in the way of clinics closing across the state.

Those invested in preserving reproductive justice in Texas, or at least what is left of it, will no doubt watch the proceedings with baited breath, hoping that this effort is more successful than the one that came before it. However, until courts recognize the undue burden put on women attempting to exercise their right to control their reproductive destiny under the confines of House Bill 2, reproductive rights activists in Texas may just see more of the same.  

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