Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Supreme Court Temporarily Stays Texas Abortion Clinic Restrictions

The U.S. Supreme Court this evening issued an Order (full text) in Whole Women's Health v. Lakey preventing portions of Texas' new regulation of abortion clinics from taking effect while a challenge to them is pending in the 5th Circuit. The 5th Circuit (full text of decision) had stayed the district court's injunction against enforcement of certain of the law's provision. As reported by SCOTUSblog, under the Supreme Court's ruling:
The state may not now enforce a requirement that all clinics in the state upgrade their facilities to be hospital-like surgical centers, even when they perform abortions only through the use of drugs, not surgery.  And it may not enforce, against the clinics in McAllen and El Paso, a requirement that all doctors performing abortions have privileges to admit patients to a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic.  That requirement can continue to be enforced elsewhere in Texas, the Court indicated.
Those two provisions, together, had reduced the number of clinics still operating in the state to seven, with an eighth soon to open.  At one time recently, Texas had forty-one clinics.  The Supreme Court’s action Tuesday will allow the reopening of thirteen closed clinics on Wednesday, lawyers for the clinics said.
Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissented.