Catholic Pro-Life Committee
Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Dallas

Media Contact: 
Becky Visosky, Director of Communications
Federal Court of Appeals Upholds Historic Pro-Life Law in Texas
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses lower court ruling and allows the implementation of Texas's omnibus pro-life law, HB 2
DALLAS, MARCH 28, 2014 -- On Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Texas' historic omnibus pro-life law, known as HB 2. Unable to comply with the provisions of HB 2, nearly 20 abortion facilities around the state are reported to have already closed or discontinued performing abortions since November 1. In a unanimous decision by Fifth Circuit Judges Edith Jones, Catharina Haynes and Jennifer Elrod, the federal court of appeals found that the law did not, as Planned Parenthood claimed, jeopardize women's health. This ruling overturned a lower court decision that the law was unconstitutional and served no medical purpose.
Previously, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin declared a portion of the law unconstitutional. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately filed an appeal of this decision, seeking immediate relief from Judge Yeakel's ruling. The Fifth Circuit issued an order on October 31, temporarily suspending Judge Yeakel's ruling, allowing the law to be enforced while the dispute was pending, which the Plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court without success. It is anticipated that this final order by the Fifth Circuit will likewise face a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court. 
"Yesterday's order from the Fifth Circuit represents a monumental victory in the battle to ensure that women and their children are protected from the violence of abortion," stated Catholic Pro-Life Committee Executive Director Karen Garnett in response to the news. "We are most pleased to see the three-judge panel -- all of whom were women -- speak out so strongly to ensure the implementation of these protections," said Garnett.
Two aspects of the law were the subject of the lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood: the increased regulation of the abortion-inducing drug RU 486, and the requirement that abortionists have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facilities. The remaining two parts of the law -- banning abortions after 20 weeks and requiring that all abortion facilities comply with the standards of an ambulatory surgical center (effective September 2014) -- were unchallenged. Judge Yeakel upheld the regulation of RU 486 with limited changes, but struck down the admitting privileges requirement as unconstitutional. The Fifth Circuit initially stayed, and now reversed, the lower court's ruling, thus allowing the law to be fully implemented, with one small caveat for abortionists who timely applied for admitting privileges and are awaiting response. (Entire opinion available here.)
Regarding the continuing impact of HB 2 in Dallas, for six weeks following the October 31 ruling, two of the five abortion centers in Dallas discontinued performing abortions, and one facility is still not performing abortions. Hours during which abortions are performed at the four remaining facilities have decreased; although client traffic has increased. Additionally, the late-term abortion center in Dallas may no longer legally perform abortions after 20 weeks. 
"While the Catholic Pro-Life Committee continues to seek legal protection for every unborn child from the moment of conception, we also support efforts to ensure the highest standards for the health and safety of women that is reflected in this law. We are elated that the Fifth Circuit has ruled that these protections go into effect and pray that any further legal challenges will be defeated," explained Garnett.
About the Catholic Pro-Life Committee
The Catholic Pro-Life Committee is a tax-exempt non-profit organization that serves the public through education on life issues, women's health issues, supportive services for pregnant women and their unborn children, and abortion aftercare.  Its services are available to anyone regardless of religious viewpoint or political affiliation.


Facts about abortion:  Nearly 10,000 abortions are performed in Dallas County
every year.  Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, more than 55,000,000 abortions have been performed in America.


� Copyright 2014 Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas. All rights reserved.