Supreme Court Stalls Final Decision on Texas Abortion Clinics

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) insists the Supreme Court is endangering the health of women in his state following the Court’s ruling against a Texas law, HB 2, that had increased standards for abortion clinics.

The Court issued a two-paragraph opinion June 29 granting a temporary stay on a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which had supported most of the Texas law that forced abortion clinics to meet the same equipment, staffing and building requirements as hospitals.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) criticized the Supreme Court ruling, not only for what it would mean for women, but also because of what he said it meant for the issue of states’ rights.

“HB 2 was a constitutional exercise of Texas’ lawmaking authority that was correctly and unanimously upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Abbott declared.

The three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court ruled June 9 that “Texas’ stated purpose for enacting H.B. 2 was to provide the highest quality of care to women seeking abortions and to protect the health and welfare of women seeking abortions. There is no question that this is a legitimate purpose that supports regulating physicians and the facilities in which they perform abortions.”

HB 2 is the legislation that put Texas Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis in the national spotlight and made her the darling of MSNBC when she launched an 11-hour filibuster.

The debate was intense even after Davis sat down. Sen. Dan Patrick (R), speaking in support of HB 2, asked his colleagues, “How would God vote?”

Democrats offered nearly two dozen amendments during the debate in 2013, a woman chained herself to the Senate gallery railing to protest the legislation, and thousands of other people stood outside the Senate dressed in orange, chanting their opposition to the bill.

But in the end, 17 days after David sat down and rested her voice box, Texas Republicans were able to get HB 2 onto then-Gov. Rick Perry’s desk.

The Republicans won.

Abortion-rights advocates, like Lena Dunham, were outraged by HB2. They branded its regulations “onerous” and said they would force dozens of clinics to close.

Dunham, never one to shy away from the power of a tweet, couldn’t hold back any longer when the news broke that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld the Texas law.