Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hurrah for the Texas Legislature and Three Fifth Circuit Judges: For Now at Least, a Texas Law Putting Reasonable Restrictions on Abortions Is Still Valid

I decline to debate the substantive issues surrounding abortion.  If appeals to compassion and age-old moral principles had any persuasive power over the Culture of Death--led by Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi and a lot of other pro-abortion politicians--Roe v. Wade would have been overturned long ago.

Instead I will comment briefly on the recent decision in Planned Parenthood v. Abbot, in which a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction on a Texas law that put reasonable restrictions on abortions in the Lone Star State. The law has two main features: one requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and the other sets quality standards on abortion clinics.

Judge Lee Yeakel enjoined enforcement of the law in late October, but a three-judge panel set Yeakel's injunction aside a few days later.  Planned Parenthood then appealed to the Supreme Court, which declined to overturn the Fifth Circuit ruling by a 5 to 4 vote.

Naturally, the New York Times is upset by these developments.  It continues to describe laws restricting abortion as an infringement on "women's reproductive rights."  Texas is one of 22 stats that adopted laws restricting abortions last year.  The Times pointed out that most of these laws were passed in Republican-controlled states, implying that Republicans are hell-bent on restricting the civil rights of women.

I don't know what the ultimate fate of the Texas law will be. The Fifth Circuit will have to issue a final ruling; and this ruling, whatever it is, will certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court.

But isn't it heartening--40 years after the Roe v. Wade opinion, to see state legislatures continue trying to put some reasonable restraints on abortion?  The Culture of Death may believe that abortion on demand (or with very little restrictions) will one day be accepted by the American people.  But millions of Americans--young and old, men and women, and people of every race and color--still have grave moral reservations about taking the life of an unborn child. Remarkably, all three Fifth Circuit judges who voted to overturn the injunction against the Texas law are women.

Judge Edith Jones
So let us say thanks to all the people who fight on--year after year--to turn back the tide of death.  Let us give thanks to the Texas Legislature; to Fifth Circuit Judges Jennifer Elrod, Catharina Haynes, and Edith Jones; and to all Americans who do their part to restrict abortion in this country.

There will be victories and there will be defeats, but the Right-to-Life movement will never die so long as there is one decent person who lives and breaths on American soil.  And--thank God--there are still millions of decent Americans.


Editorial. Abortion Restrictions in Texas and Beyond. New York Times, January 9, 2014, p. A20.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. Abbot, No. 13-51008 (5th Cir. Oct. 31, 2013).

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