Leading abortion advocacy groups today filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the pro-life law Texas passed over Wendy Davis’ infamous objections that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
However, abortion advocates are not challenging the abortion ban – they are going after the abortion facility regulations responsible for closing some abortion clinics already and potentially closing a more.
Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law in July after weeks of debate in the state legislature and passage of the bill despite an unruly pro-abortion mob.
“Today’s signing builds on our continued commitment to protecting life for more than a decade. This is an important day for those who support life and the health of women in Texas,” Perry said then. “Signing HB2 further solidifies the foundation on which the culture of in Texas is built.”
Since the law was signed, several Texas abortion clinics and referral centers have closed and one other stopped doing abortions.
Today’s lawsuit, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, was jointly filed on behalf of abortion businesses by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Texas firm George Brothers Kincaid & Horton. Whole Woman’s Health, which owns abortion clinics in Austin and four other Texas cities, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“Any one of these restrictions would have a devastating impact across the state of Texas,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The lawsuit will ask the court to block the provisions of Texas House Bill 2 before they take effect October 29, including a requirement that physicians who provide abortion must obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital to protect women who suffer from botched abortions. The lawsuit also covers requirements that abortion businesses not put women’s health at risk by using outdated methods of dispensing the RU 486 abortion drug contrary to FDA guidelines.
Texas Right to Life’s Elizabeth Graham gave LifeNews her response to the lawsuit: “The lawsuit solidifies the historic nature of House Bill 2. By leaving alone the Preborn Pain section of House Bill 2 and challenging the clinic regulations of the bill, the abortion industry is signaling some major losses when House Bill 2 is properly implemented. ”
Graham continued: “The abortion crowd knows that they can’t win arguments about killing babies who feel pain, but these extremists are desperate to keep playing fast and loose with women’s health, resisting all increased health and safety standards required by House Bill 2. Never before have Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Center for Reproductive Rights joined their anti-life forces in such an orchestrated manner, indicating that House Bill 2 will significantly impact the bottom line of the abortionist’s blood money. Texas Right to Life has full confidence in our Pro-Life Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has already announced his determination and commitment to defend this landmark law.”
After a day filled with pro-abortion threats, pro-life people hiding in secure areas of the capitol fearing for their safety and protestors disrupting the Senate proceedings, democracy finally prevailed earlier this year. Members of the state Senate approved the bill to ban late-term abortions on a 19-11 margin on second reading. The chamber then approved the bill in third reading by the same 19-11 vote.
After the House voted, Perry issued a statement saying: “The tremendous outpouring of support for this legislation has demonstrated how Texas stands for life, and I commend everyone who wore blue, turned out and spoke up in support of life in our state. Now is not the time to waver, however, as the Senate continues its important work in support of women’s health and protecting the lives of our most vulnerable Texans.”
Perry issued a call for a special session of the Texas legislature to pass the bill that a pro-abortion mob prevented the legislature from passing last week.“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state,” Perry said.
“Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”
The last attempt to pass the bill was halted in the state Senate with a pro-abortion filibuster but state Sen. Wendy Davis said she would not filibuster the bill a second time.
A recent national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law. Polling from Texas also shows support for the legislation.
Even a Huffington Post poll found a majority of Americans support banning late abortions — on a 2-1 margin.
The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy.
The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it. He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”
He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.
“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote. “Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.
With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has provided further research to substantiate their work.
“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, “[w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
“In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants…In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” Dr. Malloy testified.
She continued, “[t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”
The protesters at the Texas capitol have exploited children by making them hold signs supporting their protest against a ban on late-term abortions. Today the Internet is abuzz with shock and disgust over another sign, along with a video showing abortion activists chanting Hail Satan.
Meanwhile, a little girl is shown in a picture along with pro-abortion protestors holding a sign saying, “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d f— a senator.”