Some news reports erroneously reported early on today that HB 2 – the hotly debated Texas abortion law pro-abortion State Senator Wendy Davis (now a gubernatorial candidate) attempted to filibuster back in June – had been “blocked” in its entirety by a federal judge, leading to a lot of misinformation being spread initially about the ruling … including by yours truly on social media. While it’s true that parts of the bill HAVE been blocked for the time being, the post-20 week ban on abortions, which is set to take effect tomorrow, has not been blocked as of yet and wasn’t challenged in this case. Via the Austin American-Statesman (hat tip):
A federal judge on Monday barred Texas from enforcing a key provision of an abortion law that was to take effect Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s opinion found that a provision requiring abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health.”
Yeakel also barred Texas from enforcing a provision regulating the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs for “women for whom surgical abortion is, in the sound medical opinion of their treating physician, a significant health risk.” However, he allowed other parts of the provision, including a requirement for one extra office visit, to stand.
Abortion providers also complained that the law did not give them enough time. Hospitals have 170 days to rule on a request for privileges, but the law was to go into effect 90 days after the special legislative session ended in July.
In his ruling, Yeakel said the rule “places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her.”
Gov. Rick Perry said state officials will continue efforts to enact HB 2.
The case next heads to federal appeals court, where abortion-related Texas laws have recently prevailed:
One provision of the law, a ban on abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization, was not challenged and will take effect Tuesday. The limit, with exceptions if the mother’s life is in danger and in cases of severe fetal abnormality, is four weeks earlier than current law.
Another HB 2 provision, requiring abortion clinics meet the same requirements as day surgery centers, does not take effect until Sept. 1, 2014 and is expected to be challenged in court in the future.