Supreme Blocks Part of Texas Pro-Life Law

Posted: Oct 15, 2014 5:30 PM

On Tuesday night, the Supreme Court blocked part of H.B. 2, the pro-life law passed last summer in Texas, from going into effect during the legal proceedings regarding the bill's legality. The law made abortion after 20 weeks illegal, required clinics to reach the same standards as ambulatory surgical units, and mandated that abortionists obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law has resulted in the closing of most of Texas' abortion clinics.

Thirteen clinics will now re-open as a result of the Court's action.

From the Washington Post:

The action will allow 13 abortion clinics that closed after the appeals court decision to reopen, said Nancy Northup, president of the center. “We’re absolutely thrilled.”

The group told the justices that “if the stay entered by the 5th Circuit is not vacated, the clinics forced to remain closed during the appeals process will likely never reopen.”

The court’s decision is not a judgment on the Texas law, but whether the law’s new restrictions should be delayed while the legal battle continued.

While the Supreme Court had ruled last November that the portion of the law regarding admitting privileges was Constitutional, the ruling on Tuesday removed that requirement from two areas of the state.

The Supreme Court’s order issued Tuesday night, however, removes the admitting-privileges requirement for clinics in McAllen and El Paso. Providers there had said the requirement was particularly difficult to meet.

The admitting privileges section of the law has been the subject of most of the controversy since the law's passage. The provision of the law making abortion illegal after 20 weeks gestation has not been challenged.