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Home | Tag Archives: texas abortion

Tag Archives: texas abortion

Federal Judge delays Texas’ Fetal Remains rule until January 6

A federal judge has delayed Texas’ fetal remains burial rule until Jan. 6.

Judge Sam Sparks ruled Thursday afternoon that the Texas Department of State Health Services would have to push back its start date for requiring health providers to bury or cremate aborted fetuses. The agency had originally slated the rule to begin Dec. 19.

Under the rule, Texas health providers are forbidden from disposing of fetal remains in sanitary landfills, regardless of gestation period.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO for Whole Woman’s Health, the main plaintiff in the case, said in a news release that the court’s decision reaffirms what the organization has always said: “women deserve better.”

“We’re confident that our recent victory at the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt gives us strong ground to stand as we continue to fight these coerced mandates from overzealous politicians that strip personal decisions away from women and families,” Miller said.

Earlier this week, Marc Rylander, a spokesman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, said the rules “simply provide for the humane disposal of fetal tissue instead of sending it to landfills like unwanted trash, as is the abortion industry’s current practice.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Read more on the fetal remains rule:

  • The Center for Reproductive Rights, which had pledged in August to take legal action if the new fetal remains rules were adopted, followed through this week.
  • New Texas regulations requiring cremation or burial of fetal remains will probably be more expensive than state health officials predict, funeral directors say.

Author: MARISSA EVANS – Texas Tribune

Texas May Owe Abortion Providers’ Lawyers $4.5 Million

Texas could be on the hook for more than $4.5 million as part of its failed legal battle to defend its 2013 abortion restrictions, which the U.S. Supreme struck down as unconstitutional in June.

The Center for Reproductive Rights late Friday filed its request for that amount in attorney’s fees and other expenses incurred in the lawsuit challenging House Bill 2, which required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like standards and forced doctors at those clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles away. In a lawsuit brought by the New York-based organization on behalf of Texas abortion providers, the Supreme Court overturned those provisions on a 5-3 vote.

Because the abortion providers were the prevailing party in the federal lawsuit, the court has allowed the Center for Reproductive Rights and other attorneys who worked on the case to ask to recover costs for the lawsuit. The state is expected to file its response by Nov. 4, and the judge who oversaw the case — U.S. district judge Lee Yeakel — will decide if the abortion providers’ lawyers will be awarded anything.

“Time and again, politicians in Texas have proven to be as reckless with taxpayer dollars as they are with the health and well-being of the people they serve,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement.

The Texas attorney general’s office, which defended the restrictions in court, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Texas’ legal defense of the restrictions has already cost taxpayers $1 million.The state’s legal costs associated with the case, formally known as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, totaled $768,722. That includes salary, overhead, travel expenses and other expenses incurred by the Texas attorney general’s office.

The price tag for a previous lawsuit that targeted the admitting privileges provision — formally known as Planned Parenthood, et al v. Abbott, et al — was $311,355.

The state spent almost three years defending the restrictions that were ultimately overturned. In a majority opinion authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, the high court indicated the two requirements provided “few, if any, health benefits for women,” posed a “substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions” and placed an undue burden on the constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

While the ruling was a major victory for Texas abortion providers, they’re still grappling with the trail of shuttered clinics left in wake of House Bill 2. At the time of the ruling, only 19 abortion clinics — of the more than 40 that were open before HB 2 passed — remained open.

For more on Texas’ fight over abortion:

  • Despite intense outcry from the medical community and reproductive rights advocates, Texas isn’t budging on a proposed rule to require the cremation or burial of fetal remains
  • Though the Supreme Court on Monday handed Texas abortion providers a major victory by striking down the state’s most stringent abortion restrictions, House Bill 2 leaves behind a trail of shuttered clinics.
  • On its face, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Texas’ far-reaching abortion law seems clear: House Bill 2 is unconstitutional. But the implications may not be as straightforward. Here are five things you need to know to understand the landmark ruling.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

Hearing Set on Controversial Texas Fetal-Tissue Rule

AUSTIN – Reproductive rights advocates are calling a proposed Texas abortion rule “another regulatory overreach” by state officials, and they plan to speak out against it at a hearing this week. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission wants to require abortion providers to cremate or bury fetal tissue rather than dispose of it using currently-accepted medical procedures.

Blake Rocap, legislative counsel for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said not only would that add hundreds of dollars to the cost of the procedure, it would also drag more people into the process.

“The rule creates ambiguity and involves other licensed professionals, like funeral service directors and cemeteries that are not involved in medical care, and shouldn’t be involved, and don’t want to be involved in it,” he said.

Rocap said there’s a great deal of uncertainty about how the regulation would work, since there was no public review by either the Health and Human Services Commission or the state Department of Health Services before it was published. The hearing is set for 9am Thursday at the health department’s headquarters in Austin.

Rocap adds it isn’t clear just who is behind the rule, since it was posted on the Friday before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. He believes that was done to ensure the proposal got as little public attention as possible.

“It’s another piece of a pattern of overreach and regulation of medical care, and is specifically targeted at abortion providers and their patients,” he added. “This rule was proposed in the dark of night without any openness, which lets you know that they know they’re doing it the wrong way.”

Similar measures have been passed by legislatures in at least five other states, including Ohio and Mississippi. Texas officials say the fetal-tissue regulations are scheduled to go into effect September 1st.

The full regulation can be found online here.

Author: Mark Richardson – Public News Service

Doctors, Advocates Protest Changes to Texas Abortion Booklet

AUSTIN, Texas — Thousands have submitted comments to the Texas Department of State Health Services protesting revisions made to a booklet the state requires that doctors give women seeking an abortion.

A coalition of physicians and women’s health-care advocates said thepamphlet, called “A Woman’s Right to Know,” contains medically inaccurate information and uses biased language intended to frighten and shame women who want to end a pregnancy.

State Representative and former registered nurse, Donna Howard, D-Austin, said it’s the state’s responsibility to publish accurate information.

“Lawmakers like myself will be watching this matter closely,” Howard said. “The Texas Women’s Health Caucus will be submitting comments regarding the draft this Friday, and I would urge the Department of State Health Services to make the necessary changes to the document.”

A spokeswoman for the state health department said the agency consulted with several stakeholders in drafting the changes, including the Texas chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, the physicians’ group said state officials did not include any of their suggestions in the proposed draft.

According to Howard, the booklet not only has scientifically inaccurate information about fetal development, it also warns women that the procedure could leave them disfigured and potentially suicidal. She called that a scare tactic. Howard argued that it’s wrong for the state to force doctors to decide whether to hand out this information or face an possible $10,000 fine.

“As a former registered nurse,” she said, “I am outraged that the state requires health professionals to provide medically inaccurate information to their patients.”

The Texas Legislature originally passed an “informed consent” law in 2003 mandating that patients receive the booklet. The health department will accept comments on the revisions through July 29.

Read the text of the proposed booklet here.

Author: Mark Richardson, Public News Service

SCOTUS Rules Against HB2: Reactions

Governor Abbott Statement On Supreme Court’s HB 2 Ruling

Governor Greg Abbott today issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on HB 2:

“The decision erodes States’ law making authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost. Texas’ goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women.”

**

Bishop Seitz Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Striking Down HB 2

I am extremely disappointed to hear that the U.S. Supreme Court has acted to overturn the will of the people of Texas to provide common sense protections to women who are seeking the serious medical procedure of an abortion.  An abortion results in the death and dismemberment of an unborn child but it also can have serious risks for the mother.  A 2009 Finnish study reported that 20% of abortions had potentially serious complications.

Unregulated facilities such as the one in Philadelphia under the direction of the murderous abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, led to abuses that only a few years ago shocked the nation with his butchery of women for profit.  Without oversight, what is to prevent this situation from taking place here in Texas?

It is sad to see that the drive for the license to kill the unborn has now led us in this country to turn our heads the other way, failing to even sensibly regulate this deadly commerce which often harms the mother and always results in the death of her child.

We continue to pray and work toward a culture of respect and legal protection for every human life, from the moment of conception to natural death, where every mother facing an unexpected pregnancy will know she has the love and support she needs to choose life for her unborn child.

**

State Sen. Rodríguez released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s 5-3 ruling on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt:

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision reaffirms a woman’s constitutional right to access safe and legal abortion no matter where she lives. This decision adds to long-established precedent that the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s right to make her own decisions for her health, family, and future, without unwarranted, burdensome government interference.

Today’s decision will allow Texas’ remaining clinics to keep their doors open, and for other clinics to open or reopen, improving much-needed access to care for women across the state. My constituents in El Paso and far west Texas will no longer have to travel hundreds of miles to access safe and legal abortion care.

Make no mistake – this is a victory for our Texas families and women’s rights. From its inception, H.B. 2 has been a thinly veiled attempt to restrict access to safe and legal abortion, offered under the condescending pretext “of protecting women.” It is the culmination of a decade-long mission to dismantle access to women’s health services – whether that’s abortion or contraception.

Our state laws force doctors to give Texans grossly medically inaccurate information, and require women to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds, face mandatory delays, and make extra, medically unnecessary visits to the clinic. For a state that prides itself as having less government interference, its leaders have embraced government intrusion into the private lives of women, depriving them of their autonomy.

Undoubtedly, with this defeat, we will face renewed attacks on women during the next legislative session. I continue to stand with Texas families and their health care providers, and pledge to continue to fight unnecessary laws that endanger women’s health and rob women of their respect and dignity.

**

Cornyn Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Texas HB 2 Case

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt:

“Today’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for states like Texas, which the Constitution makes clear should be free to pass laws that are in the best interests of our citizens. Commonsense requirements that abortion clinics be held to the same standards as other medical facilities put the health of the patient first, and today’s decision is a step back in protecting the well-being of mothers across our state.”

Earlier this year, Sen. Cornyn led a broad Congressional coalition in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Texas HB 2. In total, 34 Senators and 140 Members of the House Representatives signed onto the brief, which can be found here.

U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Texas Abortion Restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed Texas abortion providers a major victory by overturning Texas’ 2013 abortion restrictions.

On a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned restrictions passed as part of House Bill 2 in 2013 that required all Texas facilities that perform abortions to meet hospital-like standards — which include minimum sizes for rooms and doorways, pipelines for anesthesia and other infrastructure.

The court also struck down a separate provision, which had already gone into effect, that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.

This means Texas’ 19 remaining clinics — of the more than 40 that were open before HB 2 passed — will continue to provide abortions. Had the court upheld the hospital-like standard requirement, Texas would have been left Texas with as few as 10 abortion clinics — all in major metropolitan areas.

In a majority opinion authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court indicated that the facility requirement on abortion clinics does not “benefit patients and is not necessary.” In knocking down the admitting privileges requirement, the court said “sufficient evidence” existed to prove that requirement “led to the closure of half of Texas’ clinics, or thereabouts.”

“We have found nothing in Texas’ record evidence that shows that, compared to prior law (which required a “working arrangement” with a doctor with admitting privileges), the new law advanced Texas’ legitimate interest in protecting women’s health,” Breyer wrote.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement called the ruling “disappointing” and insisted the decision was passed “to improve patient safety and raise the standard of care for women at abortion facilities.”

“HB 2 was an effort to improve minimum safety standards and ensure capable care for Texas women,” Paxton said. “It’s exceedingly unfortunate that the court has taken the ability to protect women’s health out of the hands of Texas citizens and their duly-elected representatives.”

Texas abortion providers and representatives with the Center for Reproductive Rights, which brought the lawsuit on their behalf, hailed the decision as a vindication.

“Every day Whole Woman’s Health treats our patients with compassion, respect and dignity—and today the Supreme Court did the same,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and the lead plaintiff in the case. “We’re thrilled that today justice was served and our clinics stay open.”

The high court’s decision was a massive win for the reproductive rights community in and out of Texas. The court’s decision is expected to help overturn similar requirements in other states fighting similar legal challenges.

  • REFERENCE MATERIAL
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Texas’ Abortion Restrictions Law
PDF (557.4 KB) download

Author:   – The Texas Tribune

State Officials Note Significant Drop in Texas Abortions

The number of abortions performed in Texas dropped significantly in 2014, with almost 9,000 fewer procedures in the state compared to the year before.

Early estimates by state health officials show 54,191 abortions were performed in Texas in 2014 — down from 63,168 in 2013. The state estimates do not include abortions Texas women obtained at facilities outside the state. In 2013, 681 Texas women obtained abortions out-of-state.

The new Texas estimates come as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Texas abortion restrictions that have been credited with the decrease in the number of procedures.

The high court appeared divided during oral arguments earlier this month in a case challenging Texas’ 2013 abortion restrictions, collectively known as House Bill 2. That law requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. A separate provision, which hasn’t gone into effect, requires clinics to maintain the same standards as hospital-like ambulatory surgical centers. Those standards range from minimum sizes for rooms and doorways to the number of nurses required to be on duty.

While the annual number of abortions performed in Texas has declined in recent years, the new estimates of a 14.2 percent drop from the state’s Department of State Health Services offer a glance at abortion rates in the first full year since the requirements on admitting privileges took effect.

More than 40 abortion clinics operated in the state before the Legislature passed HB 2 in 2013. Eight clinics closed in anticipation of the law taking effect and 11 clinics closed the day the admitting privileges provision took effect in late 2013, according to lawyers representing the abortion providers suing the state.

Only 19 Texas clinics remain in operation today. If the Supreme Court upholds the state’s abortion law in its entirety, that number could fall to less than 10 — all in major metropolitan areas.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues

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