DALLAS, NOVEMBER 13, 2015
-- The Supreme Court of the United States has announced they will consider the challenge to Texas law HB 2 in the matter of Whole Woman's Health v. Cole. A prior ruling by the
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, now under review by the high court, found the challenged provisions of HB 2 constitutional, specifically the requirement that Texas abortion facilities meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers and that abortionists maintain local hospital admitting privileges.
Becky Visosky, Communications Director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, commented on today's development:
"We are disappointed but not deterred by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to give any further consideration to the meritless challenges to Texas law HB 2 which have already been heard and carefully considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. HB 2 is a well-crafted law that helps ensure basic safety standards -- which generally apply without question to medical procedures -- are required in the abortion industry. We remain hopeful and urge prayer that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold HB 2 as constitutional and permit its full enforcement that is critical to protecting women in this state."
By way of background:
On June 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to uphold virtually all of HB 2 in an appeal brought by the State of Texas to reverse a ruling by a district judge in Austin barring the full enforcement of HB 2. The appeal arose out of a lawsuit brought by Texas abortion providers challenging the HB 2 requirement that all Texas abortion facilities meet the standards set for ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) and the abortionist admitting privileges requirement as applied to McAllen and El Paso abortion facilities. Judges Edward Prado, Catharina Haynes and Jennifer Elrod heard the appeal and concluded:
"H.B. 2 and its provisions may be applied throughout Texas, except that Supreme Court precedent requires us to partially uphold the district court's injunction of the ASC requirement as applied to the Whole Woman's Health abortion facility in McAllen, Texas, and to uphold the district court's injunction of the admitting privileges requirement as applied to Dr. Lynn when he is working at the McAllen facility." (
Opinion in full available here
On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency motion to stay the June 9th ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. (
Order available here
.) This order by the Supreme Court, while not on the merits delayed the
complete enforcement of the law while abortion providers submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court.