Late in the afternoon on October 28, 2013, Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court in Austin declared that a key provision of Texas’ abortion law that was passed in July 12, 2013 was invalid.
Judge Yeakel stated in his decision:
“The act’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.”
A discussion of the Texas law was provided by the New York Times on July 13, 2013. The key provisions of the Texas law regarding abortion are:
- Abortions are banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- Abortion clinics must meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers
- Doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
- Medical abortions, which are drug-induced using the drug RU486, will only be administered by a physician until the seventh week of pregnancy.
Fetuses are generally considered to be viable after 24 weeks. The Texas law sets a more restrictive standard of 20 weeks, and is especially restrictive with regard to prohibiting using the RU486 drug after 7 weeks.
The suit was brought about by Planned Parenthood of Texas, with support from the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and several private abortion clinics. An appeal to Yeakel’s decision will be filed by the state of Texas in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.
The portion of the law banning abortions after 20 weeks will go into effect on Tuesday, November 4, 2013. The surgical standards requirement goes into effect in September 2014. Similar provisions of banning abortions after 20 weeks have been challenged by Planned Parenthood in several states.
The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the rights of states to set abortion standards so long as these laws do not create a substantial obstacle to preventing an abortion of a nonviable fetus.
Those opposed to abortions should support sexual education to prevent unwanted pregnancies, support increased access to birth control, and place increased emphasis on enabling adoption. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has mandated contraceptives be covered in insurance plans. Many that oppose abortions are also opposing birth control provided under the ACA.
The spiritual approach for all parties in a relationship is to take responsibility for preventing conception or to commit to fully supporting the child that results from conception. If an unwanted conception occurs, the decision to terminate the pregnancy rests with everyone in the relationship. Ultimately, the woman has the legal right and responsibility to decide to continue or terminate the pregnancy before the fetus is viable.