Cruz and Rubio Ask Supreme Court to Uphold Texas Law Saving 10,000 Babies From Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 3, 2016   |   5:25PM   |   Washington, DC

Two pro-life Republican presidential candidates are asking the nation’s highest court to uphold a pro-life law in texas that has been responsible for closing abortion clinics and saving an estimated 10,000 babies from abortion.

A small group of abortion clinics in Texas wants the Supreme Court to overturn a pro-life law the state legislature passed to protect women’s health that has already saved over 10,000 babies from abortions. The Supreme Court announced in November that it will hear a lawsuit bought by abortion businesses against a pro-life Texas law responsible for closing abortion clinics that could not guarantee they could protect the health of Texas women.

The Supreme Court will review the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to uphold specific safety standards in House Bill 2, the Pro-Life Omnibus Bill passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013. When it reviews the ruling, prolife candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio hope it will uphold the law.

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Cruz, Rubio and a large number of members of the House and Senate led a broad Congressional coalition filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Texas HB 2, which establishes standards for abortion providers and facilities.

“Those who advocate for abortion often claim that it should be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ Unfortunately, abortion is not always ‘safe’ for women,” Cruz said.

“Not long ago, we saw just how dangerous an unscrupulous abortionist can be. Kermit Gosnell, who ran a Philadelphia abortion mill, treated his women patients little better than the unborn babies he slaughtered. He subjected the women in his care to unsanitary, degrading, and inhumane treatment, undermining their dignity and health, and even taking one of their lives,” Cruz continued.

“In response to this horror, the Texas Legislature enacted H.B. 2, just like other state legislatures across the country, to ensure that abortion clinics are held to the same medical standards as other medical facilities. But even this commonsense regulation for the protection of women is too much for the abortion lobby, which has challenged the regulation all the way to the Supreme Court. For the most zealous abortion advocates, nothing—not even women’s health—can be allowed to stand in the way of abortion-on-demand,” he said.

He concluded: “Today, a bipartisan group of 174 members of Congress have filed an amicus brief in defense of the right of legislatures across the country to enact medical protections for women. I am honored to have worked with my fellow senator from Texas, John Cornyn, and with Reps. Vicky Hartzler, Pete Olson, and Lamar Smith to bring this mighty coalition together.”

Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio today issued the following statement regarding his participation in an amicus brief, filed in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole which urges the Supreme Court to respect the judgment of the Texas legislature and uphold the constitutionality of Texas’s abortion law. here’s what he told LifeNews:

“Three years ago, our nation’s conscience was shocked by the trial and conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell’s horrifying lack of regard for the lives of both women and unborn children inspired millions across the nation to join together and take action on the issue of the sanctity of life. Together, they searched for solutions that would ensure the protection of the lives of women and guarantee that no unborn child developed enough to feel pain could ever be deliberately hurt again.

“This March, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Texas’s abortion law, or H.B. 2, which requires Texas abortion doctors to have the right to admit patients to local hospitals and subjects abortion clinics to the same regulations that apply to ambulatory surgery centers. This law is designed to safeguard women who choose to have abortions by ensuring that all Texas clinics are sanitary, regulated and in proximity to a hospital in the event complications arise.

“I am proud to join my Senate and House colleagues in filing a brief urging the Supreme Court to respect the judgment of the Texas legislature. The current Texas law best protects the safety and well-being of women who choose to have abortions, and serves as a model for other states to follow. Until we can put an end to abortion and protect life once and for all, transparency at abortion clinics must be a priority and all abortion doctors and clinics should be subject to the same health and sanitation procedures that apply to other surgical centers.”

“We must never forget the Kermit Gosnell trial and the pain it inflicted upon our nation. Today, it serves as a reminder of our obligation to do everything in our power to keep women undergoing abortions safe and out of danger.”

In total, 34 Senators and 140 Members of the House Representatives have signed onto the brief, which can be found here.

On June 9, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, largely upheld the contested provisions. With minor exceptions, they concluded the provisions did not create an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion.

Then, the Supreme Court blocked the law while the lawsuit against it continued. The high court voted 5-4, with Justice Anthony Kennedy joining with the four reliable abortion activists on the Supreme Court in blocking the law.

The legislation, House Bill 2 (HB2), requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards of other Ambulatory Surgical Centers in the state, ensures that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and bans painful late abortions on fully formed babies. The admitting privileges portion of the law was the portion responsible for closing abortion clinics and, because so many shut down or stopped doing abortions, Judge Lee Yeakel claimed that constituted an undue burden on women.

The coalition of abortion companies, who brought this lawsuit, argues that the effect of the law will be to close many abortion clinics, thus creating an “undue burden” on the right of women to have an abortion.

However, as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a 44-page brief to the Supreme Court:

Petitioners ignore the fact that under the Fifth Circuit’s decision, which granted as-applied relief in McAllen, every metropolitan area with an abortion facility operating today in Texas will still have an operating abortion facility if the ruling takes effect.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal of Judge Yeakel’s ruling and the appellate court issued its decision on that earlier this month. Abortion clinics appealed and asked the high court to block the law while the lower court considers the appeal and the high court granted that request today.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court “erred by substituting its own judgment for that of the legislature” when ruling against the pro-life bill. It ruled that all abortion clinics have to follow the admitting privileges law except one.

“The abortion industry doesn’t like these laws because abortion clinics would be forced to spend money to meet basic health and safety standards” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “For them, this isn’t about ‘protecting’ the women they purport to help, it’s about preserving their cash flow.”

“If an abortionist closes up because he can’t meet these most basic medical standards, that’s a good thing for the mothers who would be targeted and the unborn children who would be killed,” said Tobias.

Texas Right to Life emailed LifeNews more about what the high court will do when it reviews the pro-life law.

“In considering HB 2, SCOTUS will consider the vague notion of “undue burden” as originally addressed in the Court’s 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  For over two decades, this nebulous standard has been used to dismantle Pro-Life legislation, and – although SCOTUS’ deference to the Fifth Circuit’s earlier ruling would have been a victory for HB 2 – the Pro-Life movement at large would welcome clarification of the tenuous “undue burden” standard,” it said.

“In their petition, CRR argued that HB 2 is at odds with the state’s interest to promote health since abortion mills have closed as a result of non-compliance with the increased safety standards set forth in HB 2,” Texas Right to Life added. ”

On the one hand, the abortion industry clamors for uninterrupted taxpayer funding for alleged “women’s healthcare,” denying the use fungible funds for abortion.  On the other hand, the abortion industry insists on the right to operate in the absence of the basic health and safety standards to which similar medical professions are held.”

“Until SCOTUS completes a review of the constitutionality of HB 2, the law’s safety standards are delayed from taking effect in Texas,” it noted.

Planned Parenthood did not challenge the law’s prohibition on abortions that take place at 20 weeks or later, a provision based on evidence that demonstrates the baby can feel pain at that stage. Pro-life Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the omnibus HB 2 bill into law in July 2013.

Abbott criticized Yeakel in his motion to the appellate court, saying the district judge “failed even to mention (much less follow) precedent” from the appellate court and U.S. Supreme Court. Abbott asked for a response from the appeals court by Friday and he said he thinks it will overturn the judge’s decision.

The new appeal will be heard by the nine justices on March 2, and a ruling in the case is expected by the end of June.