Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The injunction issued by a Texas federal court earlier this week was overturned by a panel of the conservative activist Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday. Texas court reinstates abortion limits:
Texas abortion providers’ Monday victory was short-lived. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a federal district court ruling that found part of the state’s new abortion regulations unconstitutional, meaning the provisions of House Bill 2 could take effect immediately if state officials choose to enforce them.
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A three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit appellate court lifted a permanent injunction placed on the abortion regulations by a lower court, arguing in a written opinion that the state was likely to succeed in its legal arguments.
The judges, Priscilla R. Owen, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Catharina Haynes, wrote that “there is a substantial likelihood that the state will prevail in its argument that Planned Parenthood failed to establish an undue burden on women seeking abortions or that the hospital-admitting-privileges requirement creates a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.” Furthermore, they wrote,”we also conclude that the state has made a strong showing of likelihood of success on the merits, at least in part, as to its appeal of the injunction pertaining to medication abortions.”
The appellate court’s decision overrules U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling on Monday that a provision in HB 2 that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital imposed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure. Additionally, Yeakel ruled that it would be unconstitutional for the state to require physicians to follow federal standards for drug-induced abortions if a physician determined it would be safer for the woman to use a common evidence-based protocol.
Abortion providers, many of whom said they would be forced out of business if those provisions took effect, were expected to immediately appeal the 5th Circuit’s Thursday decision. It was still unclear late Thursday whether the state will enforce the provisions while legal wrangling continues.
The 5th Circuit’s decision is the latest step in a back-and-forth appeals battle that could continue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Closer to home, 16 Red States are lining up behind Arizona’s bid to enforce its year-old ban on abortions at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Arizona abortion restrictions backed by 16 other states:
A legal brief filed this week at the U.S. Supreme Court by those states does not dispute the 2012 Arizona law would outlaw abortions prior to a fetus being viable outside the womb. That is generally considered about 23 or 24 weeks into pregnancy.
But Ohio State Solicitor Eric Murphy, writing on behalf of his state and 15 others, told the justices that Arizona lawmakers had a legitimate reason to enact the 20-week ban: to protect against fetal pain and promote maternal health.
But the key to whether the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case — and, ultimately, reverse a federal appellate court injunction against the law — is Murphy’s contention that the Arizona law does not impose a substantial obstacle to a woman obtaining an abortion.
That is crucial, because even supporters of the 20-week ban concede prior Supreme Court rulings have declared such restrictions unconstitutional.
The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion if the probable gestational age of the fetus is “at least 20 weeks.” But Murphy said that still leaves Arizona women the right to obtain an elective abortion prior to that.
“Arizona’s law merely challenges elective abortions to the time before a fetus may suffer great pain and before the risks to the woman’s health are greatest,” Murphy wrote. But he said that still gives a woman adequate time to decide whether to have an abortion.
But Arizona, even with the support of the other states, has other potential legal obstacles in convincing the nation’s high court the appellate judges were off-base in voiding the Arizona law.
In their ruling, the appellate judges cited an earlier Supreme Court ruling that said “before viability, the state’s interests are not strong enough to support a prohibition of abortion or the imposition of a substantial obstacle to the woman’s effective rights to elect the procedure.”
Murphy, however, is urging the Supreme Court to focus on the word “prohibition.” He agreed that would make it illegal for Arizona to have a “complete ban” on a woman’s right to choose.
But Murphy argued that “narrower bans on certain pre-viability abortions” remain legal. And he said the Arizona law fits that category.
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Murphy said the Arizona law, and similar ones elsewhere, do not place an “undue burden” on a pregnant woman with a pre-viability fetus but “merely channel the woman’s choice rather than prohibit it.”
Murphy also argued to the high court that banning abortions at 20 weeks would affect a relatively small number of women, citing figures showing fewer than 2 percent of pregnancies in the state are terminated at or after that point.
The 9th Circuit, however, dismissed those data as irrelevant.
“A prohibition’s constitutionality is measured by its impact on those whom it affects, not by the number of people affected,” the judges wrote. “The proper focus of constitutional inquiry is the group for whom the law is a restriction, not the group for whom the law is irrelevant.”
The justices have not decided whether to even consider the bid to review the 9th Circuit ruling, much less overturn it. They gave the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sued on behalf of doctors opposed to the law, until the end of November to respond.
Far too many women have been complacent about their legal rights. They take for granted that their rights to access to health care, contraception, and abortion -- rights won by previous generations of women -- will always be there. Well it's time to wake up! Stand up and fight for your rights before those rights are gradually eroded away by the Theocrats of the Christian Taliban.
I have said before that the 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale was supposed to be a work of futuristic science fiction, but it is turning out to be a "how to" handbook for the theocratic Christian Taliban. The Handmaid's Tale Plot Summary and Details:
In this dystopian fable, a librarian wife and mother becomes the childbearing pawn of a Christian theocracy. In the near future, as war rages across the fictional North American Republic of Gilead and pollution has rendered 99 percent of the female population sterile, Kate sees her husband killed and her daughter kidnapped while trying to escape across the border. Kate herself is transformed into a handmaid -- a surrogate mother for one of the privileged but barren couples who run the country's fundamentalist regime. Although she resists being indoctrinated into the bizarre cult of the handmaids, which mixes Old Testament orthodoxy and misogynist cant with 12-step gospel and ritualized violence, Kate soon finds herself ensconced at the home of the Commander and his frosty wife, Serena Joy... Kate longs for her vanished earlier life; she soon learns that since many of the nation's powerful men are as sterile as their wives, she may have to risk the punishment for fornication -- death by hanging -- in order to sleep with another man who can provide her with the pregnancy that has become her sole raison d'être.
If people remain silent as women are systematically deprived of their constitutional liberties and rights and reduced to second class citizens who are property of the state, this dystopian fable can all too readily become a reality.