Six months ago Governor Rick Perry of Texas stated goal was to make abortions “a thing of the past,” in Texas. Thursday he signed into law a bill that makes Texas a state with some of the toughest restrictions in the country.
The law takes effect in October and bans abortions after the 20-week mark. It further requires abortion doctors to have hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of tje facility where the abortion is performed, restricts abortions to surgical centers, and places restrictions and when abortion inducing drugs can be taken. Currently only five of Texas' 42 clinics meet the standards required of "surgical centers."
During the signing, Perry surrounded by both Republican legislators and abortion opponents at the Texas Capitol stated that they were putting in place “the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon.” Opponnents chanted “Shame! Shame!” as he spoke.
Opponents believe that the law may require the majority of Texas' 42 abortion clinics to shut down. The new provisions are costly such that its unlikely that clinics will be able to comply. The five abortion clinics that currently do meet the standards are located in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.
Governor Perry believes that the law will likely improve patient safety as aborion clinics are held to higher standards of care. Opponents believe that the Bill is an Unconstitutional and plan to move the fight to the courts.
Opponents will not retreat lightly. “The fight over this law will move to the courts, while the bigger fight for women’s access to health care in Texas gains steam,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Even after tens of thousands have stood up in the State Capitol and in cities across the state to tell them loud and clear that politicians should not be interfering in a woman’s personal and private decision-making, some politicians are still not getting message,” stated Terri Burke, the ACLU of Texas’ Executive Director.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that states are entitled to regulate abortions provided the rules do not impose an “undue burden” on the right to an abortion. It is likely that the women's rights groups will argue that the surgical-center standards impose an undue burden on women seeking an abortion in Texas and are therefore Unconstitutional.
The fight for life is not over.