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November 21, 2013
Column #1,682
Supreme Court Upholds Texas Abortion Law
By Mike McManus

Pro-life advocates won a major victory at the Supreme Court this week when it refused to block a Texas law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. Result: 12 of Texas’ 36 abortion clinics closed.

However, pro-lifers lost a nationally unprecedented election in Albuquerque to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy by a 55% to 45% vote. They were outspent 4-1 by pro-abortion supporters.

Ironically, the Texas law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Perry – also limits abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Why? Scientific evidence was presented that babies in the womb feel pain at 20 weeks. Eleven states passed similar laws that prohibit abortion at 20 weeks: AL, AR, DE, IN, KS, LA, NE, NC, ND, OH and OK. Three other states have passed such laws, but are in litigation: AZ, GA and ID.

Another reason to limit abortion to 20 weeks is that the risk of a mother dying in an abortion is one per 11,000 abortions – 90 times the death risk of an abortion at 8 weeks or less, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the “research arm” of Planned Parenthood.

Yet Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, commented on the Supreme Court decision: “While we are deeply disappointed, this isn’t over. We will take every step we can to protect the health of Texas women.”

Nonsense. If Planned Parenthood wanted to “protect the health and safety of Texas women,” they would support the law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Medical complications affect 10% of women undergoing abortions, and about one-fifth are life-threatening.

As Texas Attorney General Gregory Abbot put it, “These are commonsense – and perfectly constitutional – regulations that further the state’s interest in protecting the health and safety of Texas women.”

How many women suffer damage to their reproductive organs after abortion? How many women are hospitalized after botched abortions? How many women commit suicide after abortion? How many suffer depression afterwards? There are no answers to these questions from the government or Planned Parenthood. Nor are they being researched.

Yet the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Texas law’s provisions that doctors have to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles by only a 5-4 vote.

Federal Court Judge Lee Yeakel said the law’s “admitting-privileges provision is without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit provisionally allowed the law to go into effect last month. The court will hear broader arguments in the case in January, and either side may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Its ruling in this week’s case was limited to the provision requiring hospital admitting privileges. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the four dissenters stating the effect of the ruling, was to leave 24 counties in the Rio Grande Valley without abortion clinics. He said he would have favored blocking the law to “maintain the status quo” while the lower courts handled “this difficult, sensitive and controversial legal matter.”

Justice Antonin Scalia disagreed, writing that their suggested outcome would “flout core principles of federalism by mandating postponement of a state law without asserting that the law is even probably unconstitutional.” Furthermore, even with the closed abortion clinics, 90% of those seeking abortions live within 100 miles of an abortion clinic.

Kristi Hamrick, spokesperson for Americans United for Life, asserted, “What is most ironic about the abortion industry is its assertion of a right to be unregulated and unsupervised. They lobby against complying with any law that regulates women’s care. The idea there should be no requirement for surgical abortions is absurd. It is the pro-life movement that is fighting for women’s lives.

“Their opposition to bare minimum requirements is not only appalling and hypocritical but is a profit-motive driven opposition,” she told me.

The Texas law also set minimum physical standards for the abortion facility. In the case involving Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of first degree murder, the Grand Jury found that the narrow halls in an old building was a contributing factor in the death of women, because equipment could not be gotten in help them.

“To not have a relationship with a local hospital, so there would be continuity of care to make sure a woman who is dying can have her life saved - is medical abandonment. It is malpractice,” Hamrick argued.

Proverbs 24:11 puts it more eloquently: “Rescue those being led away to death, hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”

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