Three months ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed sweeping new restrictions on reproductive rights into law, including a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and new regulations intended to close most of the state’s women’s health clinics. At the time, proponents of reproductive rights expressed confidence that they’d prevail in the courts.
So far, those predictions look pretty good.
A federal judge has ruled that new abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and should not take effect as planned on Tuesday.District Judge Lee Yeakel issued his decision Monday following a three-day trial over whether the state can restrict when, where and how women obtain abortions in Texas.Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers argued that the regulations did not protect women and would shut down a third of the abortion clinics in Texas.
State Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), considered one of the leading GOP candidates for governor next year, is expected to file an emergency appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
This is, you’ll recall, the same measure that state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) fought against over the summer. She initially prevailed, derailing the restrictions on reproductive rights, though Perry ultimately called another special session of the state legislature to get his proposal to his desk.
Also note, as Republican efforts to impose new abortion restrictions have intensified, courts have been the last remaining backstop to protect women’s reproductive rights. Today’s ruling in Texas follows similar victories in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Idaho.