Texas state officials are forcibly fighting for a judge not to issue an injunction blocking the state's tough new abortion restrictions from taking effect next week as scheduled, 1200 WOAI news reports.
State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) was one of the authors of the measure in the Legislature, and he told U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel that agreeing to an injunction blocking enforcement of the new law could cost women their lives.
"We have had mothers with serious complications from botched abortions," Hughes told 1200 WOAI news. "We have even had some women die from the procedure."
But Amy Hagstrom Miller, owner of Whole Women's Health, says her company, and her patients, would suffer a serious loss if the measure is allowed to kick in.
"If this law was to go into effect without an injunction, next week we would be closing three of our five facilities in Texas," she said.
The law requires abortion clinics to employ a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital no more than thirty miles from the clinic. It also requires abortion clinics to follow the very strict requirements of an ambulatory surgical center. The new law also bars abortions after 20 months gestation, the so called 'fetal pain threshold,' but that provision of the law is not being challenged in court.
"You don't have privileges, you don't do abortions," said Janet Krepps, senior council for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "What that means is that a third of the women in Texas would not be able to get an abortion."
Hughes and other advocates for the law want to introduce what they call 'Gosnell Evidence." That's a reference to evidence that abortions performed currently in Texas are being done in a manner that is not safe or healthy for the woman undergoing the abortion. It's a reference to Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who is serving prison for killing a woman during a bungled abortion in a filthy clinic.
Yeakel is expected to issue a ruling before October 29th, when the new abortion law is set to take effect.