Women Victorious As Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law

Extreme Texas abortion law ruled unconstitutional by federal judge. Photo of Federal Judge Lee Yeakel.

The extreme Texas abortion law passed by the GOP in July will NOT go into effect on Tuesday, thanks to a Federal judge who found it unconstitutional. Photo of Judge Lee Yeakel from University of Texas.

An extreme Texas abortion law passed earlier this year by the GOP will NOT be going into effect on Tuesday. That’s because a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional on Monday, in what is a major victory for women across the state.

A federal judge has ruled the extreme Texas abortion law unconstitutional.

NBC News reports that U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the extreme Texas abortion law, ruling that:

“The admitting-privileges provision of House Bill 2 does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a non-viable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her.”

In his ruling on the extreme Texas abortion law, Yeakel further ruled that:

“The medication abortion provision may not be enforced against any physician who determines, in appropriate medical judgment, to perform the medication-abortion using off-label protocol for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

The law would have ravaged women’s health and rights in Texas.

Passed via special session in July, the extreme Texas abortion law would have forced most of the abortion clinics in Texas to shut down.

37 of the state‚Äôs 42 abortion clinics would have had to close due to the law’s demand that clinics be treated like surgical centers. Doctors who work at abortion clinics would be forced to gain admitting privileges at a local hospital. The law also includes a fetal pain provision that bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and which is not supported by any scientific findings. It also over-regulates the use of RU-486, also known as “the morning after” pill. Women faced having to visit a clinic four times to get supervision while taking the drug.

The extreme Texas abortion law would have been the most extreme anti-abortion measure to take effect in the nation, had it not been struck down. But it never should have been passed in the first place.

How did the extreme Texas abortion law get passed in the first place?

Governor Rick Perry called the Texas legislature to special session for the purpose of passing a crucial transportation bill. Instead of debating and passing that, Republicans decided to focus on abortion. That decision led state Senator Wendy Davis to lead an epic 11 hour filibuster to oppose the legislation. Davis successfully ran out the clock, killing the bill. Republicans would go on to force their will upon women anyway, after Perry called for a second special session. Her stand on behalf of women shot Davis to national stardom. She is now running to be Governor of Texas on the Democratic ticket in 2014.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. However, the 5th Circuit has already blocked a similar abortion law out of Mississippi, so it’s likely Yeakel’s ruling will hold for now. Abbott is the Republican candidate who will compete with Davis for the governor’s office.

The ruling is a victory for Texas women and a setback for Republicans.

Texas Republicans wasted millions of taxpayer dollars forcing their unconstitutional anti-abortion agenda down the throats of women. A poll taken in June found that an overwhelming number of Texans across party lines oppose it. And thousands of Texans showed up to protest the bill as it moved through the legislature. The ruling represents a victory for Texas women and a major setback for the GOP in the midst of a grassroots effort to turn the state blue.