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Appeals Court Denies State’s Request to Immediately Enforce Major Provision of HB 2

September 2, 2014
Whole Woman's Health in Austin.

Whole Woman’s Health in Austin.

In a three-page response to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s appeal to last week’s House Bill 2 ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the state’s emergency stay motion asking that a major provision of the law take effect while the court considers its appeal. Oral arguments have been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 12 in New Orleans. The Houston Chronicle broke the news late Tuesday evening.

The provision of the law being challenged requires that all abortion facilities in Texas meet expensive ambulatory surgical center standards, which combined with a second provision requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals has led to the closure of more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics since last November. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled late Friday afternoon that these restrictions in fact create an undue burden for women needing to travel hundreds of miles should they need an abortion.

Abbott filed his appeal and request late Sunday night. So late, in fact, that the appeals court didn’t have enough time before the law would take effect this past Monday to respond.

“The appellants waited until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday August 31 to file the stay motion; a corrected version was sent at 12:08 a.m. on Monday September 1. This did not allow time for a response, or for the court adequately to consider the motion, before the scheduled effective date, though the appellants claim irreparable harm from the statute’s not being enforced. Moreover, the tardy motion was well in excess of the number of pages that are allowed,” the clerk wrote. 

Per the appeals court’s response Tuesday evening, each side in the case will have 30 minutes to present their arguments on the appeal.

Catch up on Yeakel’s decision and what it means, as well as the impact of the law so far in San Antonio and statewide.

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