(PRESS RELEASE) Governor Rick Perry signed into law today a package of anti-choice measures aimed at restricting women's access to abortion services and regulating women's reproductive health care providers out of existence.
The omnibus bill—considered by not one but two special legislative sessions—bans abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy regardless of women's circumstances and severely restricts the use of medication to terminate early pregnancies.
HB2 also imposes onerous and medically unwarranted regulations on the state's abortion providers by requiring every clinic to adhere to stringent building standards and by requiring that every physician that performs an abortion obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Said Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
"Governor Perry and anti-choice politicians in the Texas Legislature have worked overtime to advance a cruel assault on women's health, dignity, and constitutional rights.
"This draconian law will make it impossible for many reproductive health practices to provide care to the millions of women living in Texas today, severely limiting—and in many cases completely eliminating—women's ability to obtain safe and legal abortion services.
"The law will have a particularly devastating impact on women already facing difficult economic circumstances or living in the many vast rural areas of Texas.
"Forty years of Supreme Court precedent has made it abundantly clear that politicians cannot simply legislate away women's ability to make their own decisions about their pregnancies, health, families, and their future.
"We are committed to ensuring that the health and constitutional rights of millions of women across the state are protected against the actions of hostile politicians."
The Center for Reproductive Rights is leading a number of legal challenges to similar anti-choice measures in other states across the U.S.:
- In Arizona, the Center's litigation against an extreme 20-week abortion ban resulted in a federal court decision that permanently struck down the law.
- Restrictions on medication abortion in Oklahoma and North Dakota have been permanently blocked from being enforced
- Measures to constrain abortion providers and clinics through onerous licensing and admitting privileges requirements have been blocked in Mississippi and Kansas after the Center filed lawsuits. A similar measure in North Dakota has also been challenged and currently awaiting a decision from the state court.