WASHINGTON, D.C. (10-28-13) – In response to a United States district court judge’s ruling enjoining life-saving regulations in Texas, Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest made the following comment: “Asking abortionists to follow FDA protocols designed to protect women’s lives and health is the least that the abortion industry can do. We believe that the court is wrong in holding that regulating life-ending drugs according to FDA protocols creates an undue burden for some women but not others, leaving the determination of when the FDA-protocol can be violated to the sole discretion of the abortionist. We expect the Fifth Circuit will reverse this holding and uphold the provisions of the ground-breaking Texas legislation which were enjoined by the Court today.”
In response to a complaint from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled against the State of Texas by enjoining sections of the legislation that passed during a hotly contested Texas special session. Legislation included a bill based on AUL-model legislation that would require life-ending drugs to be administered only by following FDA protocols.
“Women have died when given life-ending drugs against the advice of the FDA,” noted Dr. Yoest. “Protecting women’s lives and health – inside or outside of an abortion clinic – should be an area of bi-partisan agreement.”
In its ruling the district court does not completely strike down the requirement that chemical abortions follow FDA-approved protocol. The district court correctly states that under current U.S. Supreme Court precedent, an additional and potential increased cost do not make Texas’ chemical abortion regulations an unconstitutional “undue burden.”
The decision also notes that there is no constitutional right to a preferred method of abortion procedure, as long as an alternative exists. The decision documents ample evidence that an alternative exists for most women, meaning the restrictions on chemical abortion do not rise to the level of an undue burden.
However, the district court then applies a broad “health” exception that leaves the determination of when FDA-protocol can be violated up to the sole discretion of the abortionist: an exception that swallows the rule.
In the second part of his decision enjoining the Texas admitting privileges requirement, the Court seems to state the requirement fails Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s undue burden standard because “there will be clinics that will close.” Such an analysis has dangerous consequences for women’s health. That rationale, solely focused on “access” to abortion, could preclude regulations that shut down the house of horrors clinic of now-convicted murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
For more on the health risks of abortion to women, click here.
For more information about the issues surrounding the Texas legislative debate, click here.