There was a familiar refrain among the orange-shirted demonstrators at the Capitol during the two special legislative sessions this past summer. As the lege debated—to such massive publicity that it made an international celebrity out of a previously-unknown state senator who now appears to be running for Governor—a law that would dramatically shift the landscape in Texas when it came to abortion access, the massed thousands who knew that the bill’s passage was an inevitability consoled themselves with the words, “Wait for the lawsuit.”
The wait’s over, as of today: Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in federal court to block HB 2 from taking effect. At the Huffington Post, Planned Parenthood president (and daughter of former Governor Ann Richards) Cecile Richards explained why.
“The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Associations all agree that provisions in this bill will put women’s health and safety in danger — leaving some to resort to desperate and dangerous measures,” she wrote in an editorial.
Laws that contain provisions similar to some of those found in HB 2 have been met with injunctions and/or permanently struck down in states including Mississippi, North Dakota, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. The court that will hear this case is the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a conservative reputation, and which has a history of allowing laws that challenge abortion access to stand.
The law’s proponents likely welcome the court challenge. In July, HB 2 author Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) said “it will probably go to the Supreme Court,” a scenario that Slate’s Emily Bazelon explored at length.
Image by David Weaver/do512 via Flickr