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Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly v. Cole)

Federal court challenge to a Texas law, known as HB 2, that requires all clinics providing abortions, even non-surgical medication abortions, to meet building standards required for ambulatory surgical centers (ASC). HB 2 also mandates that physicians who provide abortion care must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is performed. All plaintiffs are challenging the ambulatory surgical center standards. Additionally, the suit brings as-applied challenges to the admitting privileges requirement of the law on behalf of two clinics that have ceased, or are about to cease, providing abortion care as a result of the law. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas found the ambulatory surgical center requirement unconstitutional and enjoined enforcement of this provision. Additionally, the court declared the admitting privileges requirement to be unconstitutional as applied to the two clinics challenging that portion of the law. The state announced immediate plans to appeal and asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene by allowing the law to take effect pending the outcome of the state’s appeal. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit granted the state’s request for a stay of the district court’s injunction and allowed the law to take effect pending the state’s appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the 5th Circuit’s stay of the district court’s order, reinstating the district court’s order and enjoining the ASC requirement for all providers and the admitting privileges requirement for the two clinics challenging the law. In June 2015, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld most of the provisions of the law. Plaintiffs filed a motion to stay the most recent action pending the filing of a petition for a writ of certiorari in June 2015. The petition was denied by the circuit court but subsequently granted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Plaintiffs then filed a petition for writ of certiorari on September 2, 2015. Current Status: The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert in November 2015 and will hear oral arguments on March 2, 2016. (See the law here. See the complaint here. See the district court order here. See the 5th Circuit order granting the stay here. See the U.S. Supreme Court order vacating the stay in part here. See the 5th Circuit opinion here. See the circuit court order denying stay here. See the U.S. Supreme Court stay order here. See the petition for writ of certiorari here. Read more about the case here.)