The Supreme Court decided on June 29 that 10 abortion clinics in the state of Texas can remain open while lawyers petition the court for a review of the law. A review has not yet been granted, but the abortion clinics can remain open while that decision is made, according to the five-to-four decision.
According to the law most recently passed in Texas, doctors who perform abortions in a clinic setting must have admitting privileges at area hospitals. The law also requires clinics where abortions are performed to meet outpatient surgery center standards. Upgrades to meet this standard could cost more than $1 million, funds many of the clinics do not have.
Because abortion remains a hot button issue, hospitals are wary of providing admitting privileges to doctors that perform abortions. Because of this, many who do perform the procedure do not have admitting credentials. If the Supreme Court had denied the stay, the number of abortion clinics in the state would have dwindled to nine. Texas’ law had previously been scheduled to take effect Wednesday.
Two Viewpoints On The Issue
Abortion opponents argue the laws were created to ensure a safe environment in which abortions are provided. According to lawmakers, both abortion clinic requirements ensure the safety and health of women seeking abortion services.
Pro-choice advocates argue that because conservative, pro-life lawmakers cannot make abortions outright illegal, they are simply making them inaccessible. The number of available clinics has shrunk from 42 to 19.
What Happens Next?
There is no word on when lawyers for the clinics will ask for the laws to be reviewed by the court, however the requests are expected to be submitted in the next several days. The court can either grant or deny the request for review. Lawyers for the clinics will likely argue that the law is unconstitutional.
Other States Face Same Fight
Texas is not the only state dealing with this issue. Mississippi courts are expected to rule on a similar issue in the next session. Mississippi recently enacted a law that will require admitting credentials for doctors performing abortions, as well. The last abortion clinic in Mississippi is likely to shutter its doors if the law goes into effect.
SCOTUS will likely make a decision regarding a review of the law in September. If granted, the review will likely begin in October of 2015, during the court's next session.
For more on legal battles, both public and private, stay tuned to our blog. If you find yourself in need of legal help in the Texas Panhandle, call Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo. Their friendly, knowledgeable professionals can help find the legal solutions you’re seeking.