By Diana Pearl published
More stringent abortion restrictions have been enacted from 2011 to 2013 than were throughout the last decade. While many clinics have been forced to close in wake of these regulations, a real pushback is starting. Recently, we've seen it in Mississippi and Alabama, where federal judges struck down laws that would limit a women's access to abortion, saying that they were medically unnecessary.
Now, Texas and Louisiana are following in their wake. Within mere days of each other, these two states—two of the strictest when it comes to abortion legislation—temporarily loosened the government's hold on abortion providers. In both states, further restrictions were set to take effect this fall, both of which would have seen the closing of several abortion clinics. Thanks to the decisions handed down by federal judges in both Louisiana and Texas, 19 clinics are able to remain open.
Friday, a judge in Texas struck down the provision of HB2 that requires abortion clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, a move that will have a huge impact on Texan women seeking abortions. Right on the heels of that decision, a Louisiana judge overturned a law mandating that abortion clinics must have a nearby hospital with admitting privileges just hours before it was scheduled to take effect. This law would have forced Louisiana's few remaining abortion clinics all to close.
Ever since the passage of House Bill 2, which Wendy Davis famously filibustered against last summer, Texas has seen over half of their abortion clinics close their front doors because they cannot adhere to the demands placed on them by the law. The demands included that abortion clinics meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers (ASC's), as well as have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital—the provision recently struck down in Louisiana. Both of these requirements have been lauded as unnecessary by doctors who have testified as such in court.
The fight, however, is not yet over. The Texan judge may have held off the implementation of the ASC standards, but the state is appealing the decision. Louisiana anti-abortion groups have plans to do the same, according to the Wall Street Journal. Regardless of what happens next, there's no denying that these judges are making monumental strides for abortion rights, a battle has taken some big hits over the past year.
Diana is a producer at ELLE.com. She previously wrote for MarieClaire.com. Diana is a Syracuse grad and a Chicago native, and therefore a pro at dealing with cold weather. She's also an Anglophile, which means she love all things British—especially Downton Abbey, London, and Will and Kate (and Prince George!)
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