Court of Appeals reverses ruling declaring abortion law unconstitutional

Amanda Voeller

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state of Texas an emergency stay on a lawsuit regarding its recent abortion law, meaning Texas will be allowed to enforce the entire law while the lawsuit’s appeal is pending.

In September, Planned Parenthood — along with many other plaintiffs — brought a lawsuit against the state of Texas arguing that two provisions of House Bill 2, a regulatory abortion law, are unconstitutional.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, declaring the requirement for abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is unconstitutional. Yeakel also declared the law’s regulations on abortion inducing drugs are too strict to be constitutional.

According to the appellate court’s opinion filed on Thursday, the court is granting the state of Texas a stay because the state will likely argue successfully that Planned Parenthood failed to show that this law places an unnecessary burden on women seeking abortions.

“While we acknowledge that Planned Parenthood has also made a strong showing that their interests would be harmed by staying the injunction, given the State’s likely success on the merits, this is not enough, standing alone, to outweigh the other factors,” the court opinion said.