Wendy Davis wins again, y’all.
On October 28, a federal judge struck down an important provision of the now-infamous Texas abortion law that could have forced one third of the state’s abortion clinics to close. The judge blocked a portion of the bill that would have required doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. This measure was criticized for being medically unnecessary, and would have forced many clinics to close simply because of their location. Clinics in rural areas often use visiting doctors, who send patients to hospitals too infrequently to meet admitting privilege requirements. If those clinics become unable to serve their patients, they’ll have to close.
To recap: Texas State Senator Wendy Davis gained national attention when she filibustered for 11 hours in order to stop the law from being passed. When Davis’ filibuster was shut down on questionable procedural grounds, her Democratic colleagues in the Senate backed her up and fought to keep her speaking. Then, in a really impressive display of direct democracy, the large crowd that had gathered inside the capitol building launched into a “people’s filibuster” of sorts, yelling and chanting until the midnight deadline had passed.
The bill failed to pass before the end of the legislative session, but Texas Governor Rick Perry called another special session in order to push the bill through. It passed, and he signed it into law.
Thanks to the judge’s ruling, more clinics should be able to remain open. But unfortunately, it isn’t all good news.
The judge upheld a portion of the law that requires doctors to adhere to a strict drug protocol in medication-induced abortions. Doctors say the the protocol is outdated and unnecessary. And the lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and the owners of several other Texas clinics, does not challenge other portions of the law. Abortion clinics will still be required to meet the standards of “ambulatory surgery centers,” which are very expensive, and nearly all abortions will be banned after 20 weeks.
I guess it’s a victory, even if it’s only a partial one. You know what would be an even bigger victory? Electing Wendy Davis as Governor of Texas. Just a suggestion, Texans.