Out-of-state clinic key to Texas abortion law battle

Challengers of a tough Texas law regulating abortion clinics argue that it would soon close El Paso's sole abortion clinic. That, critics say, could leave women seeking abortions to drive 550 miles or else go to an out-of-state clinic where those state regulations do not apply, undermining the law's patient-safety arguments and constituting an "undue burden" on women.

Texas Tribune: A New Test for Texas' Abortion Restrictions
The latest legal challenge to Texas' sweeping abortion measures went to trial in a federal courthouse in Austin last week, as federal judges around the country grapple with the question of how far states can go in regulating abortion -- a question that seems likely to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The crux of the matter is what the Supreme Court meant when it ruled in 1992 that abortion regulations may not impose an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion. Some judges have held that as long as a law has a "rational basis" and does not prevent most women from getting an abortion, it does not impose an undue burden. But others have suggested that laws making abortions harder to get must have a good reason for doing so (Edelman, 8/11).

The New York Times: Out-of-State Clinic Is Central In Texas Abortion Law Fight
Of all the clinics and facilities at the center of a federal lawsuit challenging Texas' sweeping abortion law passed last year, one has stuck out. It is not in Texas, but about a mile across the state line in Santa Teresa, N.M. Its role in the case gets to the heart of the legal questions swirling around the trial here this week. The law will soon force El Paso's sole abortion clinic to shut its doors, leaving no abortion providers in all of West Texas. ... [T]he state's reliance on the New Mexico clinic is being disparaged by the law's critics, who say Texas' use of an out-of-state clinic is contrary to a recent abortion ruling in Mississippi. And it remained unclear whether the Santa Teresa clinic meets the new standards Texas has mandated (Fernandez, 8/8).

The Washington Post: Admitting-Privileges Laws Have Created High Hurdle For Abortion Providers To Clear
Among the raft of abortion restrictions passed by states in the past few years, one did not initially gain much notice -- a requirement that doctors performing abortions obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. But the measure, which 11 states have passed in some form, has proved an especially high hurdle for abortion providers to clear and a potent tool for antiabortion activists seeking to shut down abortion clinics (Somashekhar, 8/10). 

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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