Texas passed House Bill 2 in 2013, which
requires that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals
and mandates a medically obsolete method of medication abortion.
that require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals or to
use outdated protocols when providing medication abortions are contrary to
current medical standards, and the American Medical Association and the
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have opposed them. These
laws have no medical justification and simply deprive women of abortion care.
Admitting privileges: The complication
rate for abortion is extremely low and complications rarely require admission
to a hospital. Abortion care providers already have procedures in place to
ensure patient safety in the event of an emergency. Because hospitals deny
admitting privileges to highly qualified doctors who provide abortions, for
reasons ranging from the fact that too few of their patients will ever need
hospital care to ideological opposition, such laws have the effect of shutting
down clinics, and indeed, that has already happened in Texas.
Medication abortion: Medication abortion (a
combination of the medications mifepristone and misoprostol) is a safe and
effective alternative to surgical abortion that can be used by women who are in
the first 9 to 10 weeks of pregnancy. Women in the U.S. have been safely
undergoing medication abortions since 2000, when the FDA first approved
mifepristone. In fact, one out of four
women in the U.S. early enough in pregnancy to use medication abortion as an
alternative to surgical abortion has chosen this method. Since the approval of mifepristone, newer,
evidence-based regimens have been proven to be safer, more effective, and less
expensive. By requiring the provision of
medication abortion to follow an obsolete protocol, state politicians deny
women the advantages of years of physicians’ practical experience and
scientific research. This is not only
forcing outmoded health care on women, but is also an intrusion into the
Plaintiff(s): Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health
Services, Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, Planned Parenthood Sexual
Healthcare Services, Planned Parenthood Women’s Health Center, Whole Woman’s Health, Austin Women’s Health Center, Killeen Women’s Health Center, Southwestern
Women’s Surgery Center, West Side Clinic, Inc., Routh Street Women’s
Clinic, Houston Women’s Clinic, each on behalf of itself, its patients, and
physicians, Alan Braid, M.D., Lamar Robinson, M.D., Pamela J. Richter, D.O., each on behalf of themselves and their patients. (Bolded
plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights.)
Center Attorney(s): Janet Crepps
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Planned
Parenthood (Helene T. Krasnoff and Alice Clapman), ACLU Foundation Reproductive
Freedom Project (Brigitte Amiri and Renée Paradis), ACLU of Texas (Rebecca L.
Robertson), George Brothers Kincaid &, Horton LLP (R. James
George, Jr., Elizabeth von Kreisler, Rico Reyes)
The Center for Reproductive Rights, along with
the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, filed a lawsuit
challenging these provisions on behalf of eleven women’s health care providers,
three physicians, and their patients.
privileges requirement was unconstitutional and permanently blocked it, but it
largely upheld the medication abortion restriction. On appeal, the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed and lifted the injunction on the
admitting privileges requirement, allowing it to take effect, with the result
that many clinics in Texas have had to stop providing abortion services. The appeals court also disagreed with the
limited relief granted by the trial court on the medication abortion
restriction. The Center sought rehearing before the full U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on April 10, 2014, the request was
denied on October 9, 2014.