Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey

Texas abortion providers filed suit against the State seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the enforcement of amendments to Texas's law regulating abortions. At issue is H.B. 2’s physician admitting privileges requirement as applied to a McAllen and an El Paso abortion facility, as well as H.B. 2’s requirement that abortion facilities satisfy the standards set for ambulatory surgical centers (ASC) facially and as applied to the McAllen and El Paso abortion facilities. In regards to the facial challenge to the admitting privileges requirement, the district court erred by granting unrequested relief. In doing so, the district court also ran afoul of the holding and mandate in Abbott II, and the principles of res judicata. In regards to the facial challenge of the ASC requirement and the ASC requirement in the context of medication abortions, res judicata bars these claims. On the merits, the ASC requirements are rationally related to a legitimate state interest and have not been shown to have an improper purpose or impose an undue burden.The court affirmed in part and modified in part the district court’s injunction of the admitting privileges and ASC requirements as applied to McAllen, as follows: (1) The State is enjoined from enforcing section 135.51 - .56 and 135.41 of the ASC regulations against the abortion facility in McAllen when that facility is used to provide abortions to women residing in the Rio Grande Valley, until such time as another licensed abortion facility becomes available to provide abortions at a location nearer to the Rio Grande Valley than San Antonio; (2) The State is enjoined from enforcing the admitting privileges requirement against Dr. Lynn when he provides abortions at the abortion facility located in McAllen to women residing in the Rio Grande Valley. The remainder of the injunction as to the McAllen facility is vacated. Because H.B. 2 does not place a substantial obstacle in the path of those women seeking an abortion in the El Paso area, the court held that the district court erred in sustaining plaintiffs’ as applied challenge in El Paso. The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ equal-protection and unlawful-delegation claims. View "Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey" on Justia Law