Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services et al. v. Abbott

Federal court challenge to a Texas law that imposes restrictions on medication abortion (including forcing physicians to administer medication in an outdated manner and requiring several in-person visits with a physician) and requires all physicians who perform abortions to have active admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. In October 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas enjoined enforcement of the provision requiring admitting privileges. The district court enjoined enforcement of the medication abortion restrictions in cases where the physician determines that preservation of the life or health of the woman requires violating the provision; in all other cases, the medication abortion restrictions stand. The case was immediately appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In November 2013, the 5th Circuit issued a stay of the district court’s injunction of the admitting privileges requirement and narrowed the injunction regarding medication abortion, enjoining enforcement only if the patient is 50 to 63 days from her last menstrual period and the physician who is to perform the abortion determines that a surgical abortion is not a safe option due to the patient’s physical abnormality or preexisting condition. In March 2014, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit unanimously ruled that the law is constitutional and can be enforced against providers. Providers who have applied for admitting privileges but who have not yet received a response are permitted to continue to provide abortion services until they receive a response. Plaintiffs asked the full 5th Circuit to review and overturn the panel’s decision. Current Status: The 5th Circuit denied Plaintiffs’ request for review, and the law is currently enforceable. (See the complaint here. See the injunction here. See the stay here. See the 5th Circuit's decision here. See the petition for en banc rehearing here.)