NEWSFLASH: 12 Texas Abortion Clinics Close as Appeals Court Upholds TRAP Law

TEXASAfter a federal district court blocked implementation of Texas’ abortion restrictions earlier this week, a three-judge 5th Circuit Court of Appeals panel granted Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s request yesterday to reinstate restrictions on abortion providers. Abortion rights advocates will now request an en banc hearing of the full Court of Appeals or will appeal the decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. But in the meantime, some 12 Texas clinics that cannot meet the unnecessary requirement of the doctor having admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (a type of “TRAP” law) will close today.

Because of intense harassment from anti-abortion extremists, doctors who work at clinics often live great distances away and travel to the clinic each week. These long-distance doctors generally do not have local admitting privileges–which are unnecessary anyway, because in the rare case of an abortion emergency, the local hospital would still have to admit the patient.

“The immediate impact will be felt by low-income women who will not only lose access to abortion services but also to birth control, STI testing and cancer screening as these clinics close,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. The closest facility for some Texas women is now three to four hours away, especially for those women living in the southwestern part of the state.

This is a “deeply disturbing court decision tonight that will hurt a lot of women–this fight [is] far from over,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote on Twitter last night.

While the appeals court left in place the federal district court’s decision on medical abortion, it disagreed with the hospital admitting privileges decision. The appeals court claims that the ruling overlooked the interests of the state in regulating the medical profession, and that the Supreme Court has held that having “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate a law that serves a valid purpose,” reports NPR.

Photo courtesy of Maxs Croes via Flickr.


  1. Is a plastic surgeon required to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital? Does a dentist need admitting privileges to extract a tooth?

  2. This backward ruling is bad enough for the women of Texas, not to mention in other red states that have similar TRAP laws. It is frightening to see that there are so many backward extremists in our national and state legislatures who intend to block access to choice for women as much as they possibly can.

    If these anti-choice Republican politicians are successful in upholding these draconian restrictions on abortion, I have no doubt whatsoever they will target access to birth control next. And of course the clinics that are being forced to close were offering contraception to low-income and poor women as well. Is it any coincidence that every time a Republican official is voted into office, more anti-choice legislation is passed which denies more women access to both contraception and abortion? I don’t think so. I think we need to remind women across the country that any vote for a Republican official is a giant step backward for women. The year 2014 is only two months away.

  3. I’m confused. How is it that laws such as TRAP are created, passed and supported without the guidance and expertise of medical professionals (e.g., AMA) much like non-scientific creationist and religious fanatics (e.g., Paul Broun) sit on the House Science Committee ? What does the AMA say about TRAP?

  4. What country am I living in again? Every time I look at the news it is yet another article about the rights of women being chipped away. Before you know it we will be living in a real life Handmaiden’s Tale. I grew up thinking that I would have more rights and equality than my mother. Now I have a daughter and I worry about the future she may have to face.

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