Texas HB 2 should be upheld in its entirety by the United States Supreme Court

Texas HB 2 should be upheld in its entirety by the United States Supreme Court, even if it leads to the closure of abortion clinics in the state of Texas, because the Texas Legislature did not intend to prohibit abortion clinics who are compliant with the requirements of HB 2 from performing abortions prior to 20 weeks post-fertilization, abortions necessary to prevent the death or “a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological condition” of the mother, or an abortion of an unborn child who has been diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality. In addition, several of the regulations contained within HB 2 are constitutionally permissible because these provisions of HB 2 regulate abortion in a manner that is “reasonably related to maternal health” and because they do not prohibit abortion providers who are compliant with HB 2 from performing abortions.

The United States Supreme Court should decide that laws that prohibit or regulate abortion are constitutionally permissible, even though the United States previously declared state laws that prohibited abortion as being unconstitutional in the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases, because these laws further the legitimate governmental interests “in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child,” which had been acknowledged in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. In addition, the state has legitimate governmental interests not acknowledged in the Roe v. Wade case that justify the prohibition of abortion, including but not limited to a legitimate governmental interest in protecting unborn children against pain that might be felt during an abortion, a legitimate governmental interest in protecting unborn children against irreversible harm that might result from an attempted abortion that fails to result in the death of the unborn child, and a legitimate governmental interest in deterring infanticide.

One of the major reasons why abortion providers in Texas are seeking to have HB 2 declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court is that some of the pregnant women who reside in the state of Texas and who are seeking to end pregnancies through an abortion would be deprived of the opportunity to have an abortion if HB 2 is upheld by the United States Supreme Court. However, a law that regulates or prohibits abortion does not become unconstitutional simply because of opposition by the abortion industry since these laws can be constitutionally permissible if these laws are not prohibited by the United States Constitution and if proper procedure was followed by the legislature and the governor in passing these laws. In addition, the United States Supreme Court should uphold HB 2 if it determines that the provisions of HB 2 are permitted under the United States Constitution, even if there is opposition to HB 2 by Texas abortion providers.

The majority of pregnant women who are seeking to end their pregnancies through an abortion choose to do so because they do not want to take care of their unborn children after birth. Having an abortion and raising the child on her own after birth are not the only options available for a woman who is in an unplanned, unwanted, or crisis pregnancy because she also has the option to give up her unborn child for adoption if she does not want to take care of her unborn child after birth. In addition, the denial of an abortion to a pregnant woman who is in a unplanned, unwanted, or crisis pregnancy is not unreasonable if the mother is able to safely carry the pregnancy to the stage at which her unborn child is likely to be viable outside of the womb with proper medical care, if the mother is able to safely deliver her unborn child alive with proper medical care, if the mother has access to proper prenatal medical care, and if the mother is able to transfer legal custody, physical custody, and financial responsibility to another individual who can take care of her child after birth if she does not want to take care of her unborn child after birth. Furthermore, there is always the risk that a pregnant woman will not be able to abort a pregnancy that is already at the stage at which her unborn child is viable outside of the womb, even if abortion is perfectly legal for any reason during all nine months of pregnancy, because there is always the risk that she will go into labor prematurely.

Improving access to pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance for women who are in unplanned, unwanted, or crisis pregnancies in the state of Texas would reduce the demand for abortions in the state of Texas. Additionally, improved access to pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance in the state of Texas will provide real help to pregnant women who would no longer have easy access to abortion if Texas HB 2 is upheld in its entirety by the United States Supreme Court. Furthermore, the plan to improve access to pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance in the state of Texas should include improved access to pro-life prenatal medical care, unemployment assistance to pregnant women who are unable to work because of a complication of pregnancy, improved access to material assistance to a parent of a child who is born as a result of a unplanned, unwanted, or crisis pregnancy, and making it easier for a woman who does not want to take care of her child after birth to give up her child for adoption. Finally, improving access to pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance would send the positive message that abortion is not the only option for those women who are in unplanned, unwanted, or crisis pregnancies.

Texas HB 2 should be upheld in its entirety by the United States Supreme Court, even if some women would be denied abortions as a result of upholding HB 2, because the need and the demand for abortions in the state of Texas can be reduced by improving access to pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance and by making it easier for a pregnant women who does not want to take care of her unborn child after birth to give up her child for adoption. Furthermore, the failure to uphold Texas HB 2 will unnecessarily endanger the lives and health of women who undergo abortions in the state of Texas. Finally, abortion providers who operate abortion clinics in the state of Texas are seeking to have HB 2 declared unconstitutional in order to increase their profits and to avoid the expense of having to upgrade their existing abortion clinics or to relocate to new abortion clinics that meet the new standards.

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Today is the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases, both of which enabled abortion-on-demand to be legal in the United States during all nine months of pregnancy. Over 57 million unborn children have been killed as a result of legal abortion in the United States since abortion-on-demand was legalized nationwide during all nine months of pregnancy on January 22, 1973. The debate over whether abortion should become illegal in the United States is far from over, despite what the United States Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton 42 years ago.

The United States House of Representatives is currently proposing two major pieces of pro-life legislation. The first major piece, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization on the grounds that unborn children can feel fetal pain at that stage of pregnancy. The second major piece, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015, would prohibit federal funding of most abortion procedures, would prohibit federal funds from being used for abortion coverage under healthcare plans, and would require full disclosure of any abortion coverage under any healthcare plan provided pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama is likely to veto both of these pieces of legislation if these pieces of legislation pass in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. In addition, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection act would probably be challenged in federal courts if it becomes law because of opposition to this piece of legislation by the abortion industry and also because this law might not meet the health exception requirement under the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings.

The United States Supreme Court should uphold Texas HB 2, which was passed by the Texas Legislature in the second special session of the 83rd legislature and signed into law on July 18, 2013, because the intent of the law is to protect women who are undergoing abortions from the dangers of abortion procedures and also because the Texas Legislature did not intend to prohibit abortion providers from performing legal abortions at abortion clinics that meet the standards required under HB 2. In addition, the United States Supreme Court should also rule that prohibitions on late-term abortion and partial-birth abortion are constitutionally permissible in every circumstance, even when the an abortion has been determined to be necessary for the preservation of the life or health of the mother. Both of these actions would benefit American society, would lead to a reduction in the overall abortion rate, and would lead to decreased demand for abortion in the United States if the United States Supreme Court upholds HB 2 and rules that prohibitions on late-term abortion are constitutionally permissible in every circumstance.

In addition to prohibiting taxpayer-funded abortions and prohibiting late-term abortions, more needs to be done to help women who are in unplanned pregnancies to ensure that these women will not resort to abortion and to ensure that their children are taken care of after birth. Improving access to prenatal care for women who are in unplanned pregnancies through healthcare providers that will not pressure them into undergoing abortions will encourage these women to choose life, will reduce the demand for abortion, and will lead to more healthy babies being born. In addition, providing assistance to low-income women and improving access to adoption placement assistance for pregnant women who do not want to raise their unborn children after birth will reduce the demand for abortion.

Texas abortion law should be upheld by the federal courts

The Texas State Legislature passed House Bill 2 on July 18, 2013, which imposes the following restrictions on abortions performed in the state of Texas:

  • A physician who performs an abortion in the state of Texas is required to have active admitting privileges at a hospital that provides gynecological or obstetric health care services within 30 miles of the clinic where the abortion is performed or induced.
  • The telephone number of the physician, other health care personnel employed by the physician, or the facility where the abortion was performed must be disclosed to the woman whom the abortion is performed on.
  • The name and telephone number of the nearest hospital to the home of the woman at which an emergency arising from the abortion would be treated must be disclosed to the woman whom the abortion is performed on.
  • The physician performing the abortion must determine the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child being aborted prior to performing the abortion.
  • An abortion cannot be performed after 20 weeks post-fertilization unless the unborn child being aborted has been diagnosed with a severe fetal abnormality or the abortion is required to preserve the life of the mother or to substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the mother.
  • The provision, prescription, or administration of an abortion-inducing drug must be in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Food and Drug Administration unless the provision, prescription, or administration of an inducing drug is in accordance with the clinical management guidelines defined by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin as those guidelines existed on January 1, 2013.
  • Prior to the dispensation, prescription, or administration of an abortion-inducing drug, a physician must physically examine the pregnant woman and document in the woman’s medical record the gestational age and the intrauterine location of the pregnancy.
  • The physician who provides, prescribes, or administers an abortion-inducing drug must schedule a follow-up visit to occur within 14 days of the administration or use of the drug, and the physician is required to confirm that the pregnancy is completely terminated and to assess the degree of bleeding in that follow-up visit.
  • If the physician who provides, prescribes, or administers an abortion-inducing drug is aware of an serious adverse event arising from the abortion-using drug, the physician is required to report it to the Food and Drug Administration through the MedWatch Reporting System.
  • On and after September 1, 2014, the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards required of ambulatory surgical centers.

Texas House Bill 2 should be upheld in its entirety by the federal courts because the regulations under this law are intended to protect pregnant women from the dangers of abortion procedures and to protect unborn children from being killed after viability. Over 400 women have died from abortions at legal abortion clinics and many post-abortive women have been harmed by abortions at legal abortion clinics since the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases, and the failure to uphold Texas HB2 will result in more harm to women who undergo abortions in Texas than if HB2 is upheld by the court.

Even though most of the provisions of HB2 do not pose an undue burden for abortion providers or the women who undergo abortions in Texas, the main provision of HB2 that is currently being challenged by the courts is the requirement for abortion facilities in the state of Texas to meet the minimum standards required by ambulatory surgical centers. This provision is being challenged because this provision has forced the closure of abortion clinics in Texas, because this provision has made it difficult for pregnant women to obtain abortions in Texas, and because it is difficult for most of the existing abortion facilities in Texas to comply with the new requirements of this provision.

Although Judge Yeakel ruled that HB2’s requirement that abortion clinics meet the minimum standards required of ambulatory surgical centers was imposed in order to close abortion clinics, the primary intent of this requirement was to increase the safety standards of abortion clinics in the state of Texas. As such, this requirement should be upheld and the existing abortion providers should be required to upgrade their existing clinics or relocate to clinics that meet the minimum standards provided under HB2. Additionally, even if this requirement makes it difficult for a pregnant woman to obtain an abortion in Texas or forces the closure of some of Texas’s abortion clinics, this requirement furthers the legitimate governmental interest of protecting the health of women who undergo abortions and helps protect women who are undergoing abortions from the dangers associated with unsanitary conditions at abortion clinics.

The vast majority of abortions that are performed at abortion clinics are performed for the purposes of getting rid of an unborn child who is unwanted by his or her mother, and the vast majority of pregnancies that are aborted could have been safely carried to term with proper medical care if these pregnancies were not aborted. As such, almost all of the abortions that are performed at abortion clinics are clearly elective to begin with. If the main issue at stake with the closure of abortion clinics resulting from HB 2 is really about access to assistance for women faced with unplanned pregnancies, then the state of Texas should be implementing programs that provide women who are in crisis pregnancies with the medical care and the assistance that they need to carry their pregnancies to term and to ensure that babies who are born as a result of unplanned pregnancies will be properly taken care of after birth. Increasing access to pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance for women who are faced with unplanned pregnancies will reduce the demand for abortions, protect pregnant women from the dangers associated with abortion procedures performed at legal abortion clinics, and save lives of unborn children who would otherwise be killed through abortion or infanticide.

Even though Judge Lee Yeakel struck down portions of HB 2 due to the loss of access to abortion that would occur as a result of abortion clinic closures in Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court need to uphold HB 2, even if the law will lead to the closure of abortion clinics in Texas for several reasons. First, the requirements imposed on abortion clinics under HB 2 are primarily intended to protect women from the dangers associated with legal abortion procedures and to ensure that continuity of care is there in the event that a medical emergency arises from the complications of an abortion. Second, the failure to uphold HB 2 will pose a greater danger to pregnant women who undergo abortions in Texas than upholding HB 2 would. Third, the services that women would be losing access to as a result of the regulations imposed under HB 2 are in most cases clearly elective and medically unnecessary. Fourth, providing women who are in crisis pregnancies with easier access to prenatal care, obstetric care, and pro-life crisis pregnancy assistance will reduce the demand for abortions in Texas and will lessen the need to keep abortion clinics open in Texas. Finally, some women who are in crisis pregnancies are actually unwilling to have an abortion if access to abortion is not easily available.