WASHINGTON, D.C. (06-09-15) – In a sweeping victory for women, the Fifth Circuit has upheld a Texas law requiring that abortion clinics meet the same health and safety standards as facilities that provide other outpatient surgeries. In a per curiam decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey, the Court found that the medical requirement advances Texas’ interests in safeguarding maternal health and protecting women from substandard abortion facilities and practices. “Texas has struck a decisive blow for women’s health and safety against a predatory abortion industry,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “A largely under-monitored, under-supervised, and secretive abortion industry tells women ‘trust but don’t verify that our clinics are clean and safe.’ No longer should women be abandoned to self-serving and false assurances from an industry that puts profits over people.”
For more than a decade, AUL has led the nationwide effort to combat the reality of legal “back alley” abortions, advocating for meaningful and comprehensive regulation and oversight of abortion clinics across the nation. AUL attorneys and experts have drafted model legislation requiring that abortion clinics meet the same basic health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical facilities, defended abortion clinic regulations in court, and worked with concerned legislators across the nation to better protect women and children.
“AUL is partnering with influential legislators to ensure that American women are no longer victimized by a profit-centered abortion industry, willing to spend significant money opposing efforts to enact commonsense health and safety standards rather than invest that money in women’s safety,” said Dr. Yoest. “And while Big Abortion fights against protecting women, they rake in millions in taxpayer funding each year.” Click here to learn more about tax dollars going to abortion purveyors.
Texas’ ambulatory surgical center standards were part of Texas House Bill 2, enacted in 2013, with the help of AUL experts. The measure also requires that abortion providers maintain hospital admitting privileges to ensure that women facing post-abortion complications receive proper emergency care; prohibits abortions after 20-weeks; and, specifically using AUL model language, regulates the provision of dangerous abortion-inducing drugs including RU-486. The Fifth Circuit upheld the admitting privileges requirement and abortion-inducing drugs regulations in March 2014.
AUL filed an amicus curiae brief (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Fifth Circuit in support of the mandate that abortion clinics meet the same health and safety standards as other facilities performing outpatient surgeries.
This case is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke, writing in The Federalist, predicted in January 2015 that the high court would eventually review the life-affirming provisions of Texas House Bill 2 and, in doing so, could dramatically change America’s abortion landscape. Notably, the Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of comprehensive health and safety standards for abortion facilities.
For more on health and safety standards outlined in the model legislation in Defending Life, click here.