The Texas Tribune reports that HB2, the omnibus anti-abortion bill passed after Wendy Davis’ filibuster, has been ruled partially unconstitutional and had its enforcement fully enjoined. Here is the full opinion of the case, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, which was released today by Judge Lee Yeakel (a Federal District Judge appointed by George W. Bush). From what I understand, this is a final finding of fact and conclusion of law, meaning that proponents of the law must appeal on the merits rather than simply seek an injunction/writ of mandamus.
The astute will recall that of the four provisions of this law, only two were immediately challenged in Federal Court. Those were the provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and the provision requiring inducing drugs to be administered in person, respectively. The former provision was completely struck down as an undue burden on women’s reproductive rights, whereas the latter provision was only struck down in instances where the doctor could deem the “life or health” of the prospective mother would be in jeopardy.
Of course, the “health” of the mother could refer to her mental state, which gives doctors a fair amount of discretion. Most notably, enforcement of the law (which was set to go into effect at midnight) has been fully enjoined. Fresh off the presses, the Houston Chronicle reports that Attorney General Abbott (the defendant in the case) was planning an emergency appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This may very well be an issue that is resolved by the Supreme Court.
The other two provisions of the law, the 20 week ban and the ambulatory surgical center requirement, respectively, were not challenged. The latter does not go into effect until next year, but the former will still take effect tonight. Although Federal Courts in both Idaho and Arizona have ruled such a limit unconstitutional, opponents of the law did not want to get entangled with the litigation in Texas. Besides, that question may very well be resolved by the Supreme Court.
Burnt Orange Report has more.