Pro-abortion groups filed suit Friday against the abortion-restricting law that passed in the special session of the Texas state legislature — and that Texas Democratic Sen Wendy Davis attempted to block — this summer.
Arguing that portions of the abortion law are “draconian” and “unconstitutional,” Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and more than a dozen “women’s health care providers” filed suit in federal court to block two portions of the law, also known as House Bill 2.
The law requires abortion practitioners who administer abortion medicine have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform abortions. It also places restrictions on medicated abortions, which are used to end early pregnancies.
“We think that the courts will determine that the state of Texas has actually violated the 14th amendment liberty rights of Texas women to safe and lawful abortions, making it virtually impossible to ever get a safe and legal abortion,” Jim George, an attorney representing the plaintiffs with the Texas firm George Brothers Kincaid & Horton LLP, told reporters on a Friday conference call.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, argued the laws will drastically reduce access to abortions for Texas women
“This law is unconstitutional and it interferes with women’s ability to make her own, private medical decisions and it will absolutely jeopardize women’s health and safety in Texas,” Richards told reporters, adding that having grown up in Texas she learned that “women only got what they fought for.”
Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, further slammed the “extreme politicians” who passed that law “which threatens women’s health and effectively outlaws abortions in much of the state of Texas.”
“The real purpose of this law is to make it impossible for a woman to get an abortion,” Dalven said on Friday’s conference call.
Notably the coalition’s lawsuit does not challenge the 20-week ban on abortions or the requirement that abortions are performed in ambulatory surgical centers.
Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, explained that the lawsuit focuses on the provisions of the law that will “immediately require many providers to stop providing safe and legal abortions all together.”
George added “You can only do so much at once. The 20-week ban on abortions that are performed subsequent to that time limit are relatively rare and the immediate problem that we are facing here is that there are large parts of the state of Texas that will be effectively precluded from ever getting an abortion by the statue’s provisions that we are challenging.”
He explained that they will consider what to do with the 20-week ban “down the road.”
Davis, who staged an 11-hour filibuster against the bill, is expected to announce her candidacy for Texas governor next week.