Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Perry Remarks On USSC Abortion Reform Decision

The US Supreme Court has issued a ruling on Texas HB 2, the controversial new law reforming abortion policies and procedures in Texas.

In the case of Planned Parenthood et. al. v Abbott, et al., the 5th US District Court ruled certain provisions of the law were unconstitutional, primarily the provision that abortions be performed by licensed surgeons who, like other surgeons performing ambulatory surgical procedures, have admissions contracts with emergency care hospitals within 30 miles of their ambulatory surgical clinic.

The 5th US Court of Appeals granted the law a stay of execution pending its journey through the court system. The Court of Appeals stated that the law stands a reasonable chance of being upheld, with the 5th District's ruling overturned. In that opinion, the 5th Court of Appeals also reminded the District court of precedence in similar cases that ended in rulings in the states' favor.

The decision for the stay was then appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia penned the majority opinion to refuse to act to block the enactment of the bill. They let the 5th Appeals Court's ruling stand. The law will be argued before the 5th US Court of Appeals in January.

Excerpts from Scalia's majority opinion:

When deciding whether to issue a stay, the Fifth Circuit had to consider four factors: (1) whether the State made a strong showing that it was likely to succeed on the merits, (2) whether the State would have been irreparably injured absent a stay, (3) whether issuance of a stay would substantially injure other parties, and (4) where the public interest lay. See Nken v. Holder, 556 U. S. 418, 434 (2009). The first two factors are “the most critical.” Ibid.

The Court of Appeals analyzed the first factor at length and concluded that the State was likely to prevail on the merits of the constitutional question. The dissent does not join issue with that conclusion; it says only that the question is “difficult.” Post, at 4. Standing alone, that observation cuts against vacatur, since the difficulty of a question is inversely proportional to the likelihood that a given answer will be clearly erroneous. With respect to the second factor, the Court of Appeals reasoned that the State faced irreparable harm because “‘[a]ny time a State is enjoined by a court from effectuating statutes enacted by representatives of its people, it suffers a form of irreparable injury.’” Maryland v.King, 567 U. S. __, __ (2012) (ROBERTS, C. J., in chambers) (slip op., at 2–3) (quoting New Motor Vehicle Bd. of Cal. v.Orrin W. Fox Co., 434 U. S. 1345, 1351 (1977) (Rehnquist, J., in chambers)). The dissent does not quarrel with that conclusion either. It thus fails to allege any error, let alone obvious error, in the Court of Appeals’ determination that the two “most critical” factors weighed in favor of the stay.

One might think that would be the end of the matter. Yet the dissent asserts that “the balance of harms tilts in favor of [the] applicants,” post, at 4—presumably referring to the third relevant factor, whether the stay would substantially injure third parties. The Court of Appeals, of course, acknowledged that applicants had “made a strong showing that their interests would be harmed” by a stay, but it concluded that “given the State’s likely success on the merits, this is not enough, standing alone, to outweigh the other factors.” ___ F. 3d ___, ___ 2013 WL 5857853,*9 (CA5, Oct. 31, 2013). The dissent never explains why that conclusion was clearly wrong: In particular, it cites no “ ‘accepted standar[d],’” Western Airlines, supra, at 1305, requiring a court to delay enforcement of a state law that the court has determined is likely to withstand constitutional challenge solely because the law might injure third parties.


Reasonable minds can perhaps disagree about whether the Court of Appeals should have granted a stay in this case. But there is no doubt that the applicants have not carried their heavy burden of showing that doing so was a clear violation of accepted legal standards— which do not include a special “status quo” standard for laws affecting abortion. The Court is correct to deny the application.

Upon hearing the highest court's ruling, Governor Rick Perry issued the following statement:

"This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state."
The US District Court ruled that the portion of the law restricting abortions to the first 20 weeks of gestation was constitutional, lawful, and proper. Despite some rhetoric surrounding supports of Wendy Davis, the law does not ban abortions in Texas. It merely makes them safer for the abortive mothers and makes it more difficult for individuals such as Karpel and Gosnell  to operate unsanitary late-term abortion mills in Texas. Gosnell was convicted of murdering live-born babies as well as willfully neglectful malpractice that led to the death of at least one abortive mother. The conditions of Gosnell's clinic were discovered during an investigation into allegations Gosnell was trafficking controlled substances (opiates, narcotics). Karpel is a Texas surgeon whose clinic near Houston was operating in a manner similar to Kermit Gosnell's.

"Alamo Women's Reproductive Services" still offer services that have little to do with reproduction and everything to do with the opposite. They are still open and performing abortions, in compliance with the new Texas laws, with clinics in San Antonio and Corpus Christi. The San Antonio clinic is less than half a mile from the hospital where they have an admissions contract. They refuse to perform surgical abortions after 16 weeks of gestation, which is less than the law's 20 week limit.

Those who are unsure of the basis for Texas's laws and the 20 week limit may wish to view the educational short film, "Silent Scream" (embedded below). Of note, recent studies indicate that surgical abortions may be linked to breast cancer, endometritis, cervicitis and several other life-threatening medical conditions later in life. Be fully informed before making any decision.