“They’re trying to see what sticks to the wall”
By Dave Andrusko
Ever since the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, gutted much of an omnibus 2013 Texas law, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the lead litigant in that case, has sought to throw out essentially the entirety of abortion law in the Lone Star State.
According to the very pro-abortion Texas Tribune, on Monday the very pro-abortion U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel criticized both state attorneys and a coalition of pro-abortion groups for confusing him. The issue was “whether a sweeping lawsuit challenging more than 60 Texas abortion regulations should move forward,” according to Marissa Evans.
Evans wrote that Stephanie Toti, lead attorney for the plaintiffs– Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the Afiya Center, Fund Texas Choice, the Lilith Fund, the Texas Equal Access Fund, and the West Fund–
said during the hearing that “once upon a time, Texas started off with a reasonable regime to regulate the system of abortion.”
“The system has become so burdensome that it’s increasingly difficult for patients and providers to navigate,” Toti said.
Evans explained the litigants are trying to piggyback on the conclusions the Supreme Court came to in 2016 in overturning much of Texas’s HB 2, specifically very commonsensical regulations in a 2016 decision.
“Advocates are now attempting to retroactively apply the ruling to Texas abortion-related laws going back to 1999,” Evans wrote.
The laws the pro-abortion groups are challenging include
dozens of rules including a requirement that abortions be performed by licensed physicians, restrictions on drug-induced abortions, a stipulation that parents and guardians give consent for minors seeking an abortion and a requirement that a minor who is 16 weeks pregnant and decides to have an abortion be treated in hospital-like settings.
The state of Texas was represented at the hearing held in Austin by Beth Klusmann, assistant solicitor general for the Texas Attorney General’s Office, who called the lawsuit “meritless” and “overreaching.” She told the court, “It would essentially require the court to rewrite abortion law in Texas.”
The Texas Attorney General’s Office issued a news release to explain
that Texas isn’t alone with how it regulates abortion providers. The office said 40 states require physicians to perform abortions, 44 states have parental involvement requirements, and 29 states have laws requiring physicians to provide certain information to patients considering an abortion.
Following the hearing, Emily Horne, senior legislative associate for Texas Right to Life, said the plaintiffs
went “too far” by trying to overturn regulations that go back decades. She said the challenge was more about profit for providers than patient safety.
“It’s not a well-structured, well-based case,” Horne said. “They’re trying to see what sticks to the wall.”