Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fifth Circuit Panel Upholds Parts of Onerous Texas TRAP Law

CNN: Appeals court upholds challenged parts of Texas abortion law, by Greg Botelho:

A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld parts of a Texas abortion law pertaining to hospital privileges for physicians who perform abortions and protocols for abortion-inducing drugs, a decision that drew starkly contrasting reactions on both sides of the debate.

A U.S. district court previously struck down those provisions in the Texas law, which were challenged in court by lawyers for Planned Parenthood. But the 5th Circuit Appeals Court later issued a stay of that decision "pending appeal," meaning it would not go into effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court also weighed in, with a majority refusing to stop the law's implementation. . . .

Bloomberg: Texas Abortion Doctor Restriction Upheld by Appeals Court, by Margaret Cronin Fisk & Laurel Brubaker Calkins:

Texas can require abortion doctors to affiliate with local hospitals, although it can’t enforce the ban while doctors apply for those rights, an appeals court said, overturning a federal judge’s finding that the measure places an unconstitutional burden on women seeking to end pregnancies. . . .

“It is not the courts’ duty to second guess legislative fact-finding, ‘improve’ on, or ‘cleanse’ the legislative process by allowing relitigation of the facts that led to the passage of a law,” U.S. Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones wrote in a 34-page opinion stating the lower-court judge used the wrong legal standard in evaluating the restrictions. “Courts must presume that the law in question is valid” as long as it serves a “legitimate” state goal. . . .


The opinion is available here.  I recently wrote a short piece for the Harvard Law Review Forum discussing recent litigation on admitting privileges laws, including the Fifth Circuit case, and its significance in fleshing out the meaning of the undue burden standard.  It is available here.

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