The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated a sweeping anti-abortion law in Texas, following a lower court’s previous ruling that key measures of it were unconstitutional. A panel of three judges, all of whom were appointed by former president George W. Bush, reversed the ruling from Judge Lee Yeakley which stated that under the new law many Texas abortion providers:
“Do not currently have admitting privileges and cannot gain admitting privileges for reasons including lack of a board certification specialty, retirement, impact on their private practice, and distance from the hospitals that are 30 miles from the Whole Women’s Health Services facilities.”
Judge Yeakley concluded that this would result in many facilities being unable to provide abortions, which would directly impact on the rights of women and girls in Texas. It has been estimated that under the new Republican-sponsored law the number of abortions providers in Texas will drop from 47 to just five.
The ruling was authored by Judge Priscilla Owen, who is regarded as staunchly anti-choice. According to ThinkProgress.org , when Judge Owen and former A.G. Alberto Gonzales were both Supreme Court Justices, Justice Owen sought to make abortions more difficult to obtain in Texas–Gonzales labeled the proposed resolution an “unconscionable act of judicial activism.”
This new ruling is yet another setback for females in Texas, and continues a farcical see-saw approach to reproductive rights in the Lone Star state, where conservative ideologues, realising that at a federal level they are unlikely to succeed, have turned to their individual states to curtail access to abortion, access that (and this must never be forgotten) is guaranteed by the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973 in Roe v. Wade.