Fifth Circuit Short Circuits Planned Parenthood

Barb Wire

By Tony Perkins

Family Research Council — In the abortion debate, there aren’t many areas where the two sides agree. But shouldn’t women’s safety be one of them? Planned Parenthood doesn’t think so — and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees proving it. In one of the greatest ironies of politics, the one thing standing between women and safe abortions continues to be the people providing them. In Texas, the abortion giant isn’t fighting the “war on women,” it’s fighting the war on health care accountability.

No sooner had Governor Rick Perry (R) signed his name to the bottom of HB 2 than Cecile Richards’s group was in court, filing for the right to keep the clinics’ shoddy standards in place. Despite a five-clinic sting that same month, in which inspectors found everything from rusty suction machines to contaminated medicine in several locations, a lower court sided with Planned Parenthood in its crusade to protect clinics from the accountability they so desperately need.

Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the side of women’s health and upheld the state’s abortion rules — dealing a huge blow to Planned Parenthood and other groups who insisted that the law didn’t protect women, but instead put an “undue burden” on them. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit unanimously disagreed. Instead, the judges — all women, ironically — believe HB 2 “reduces the risk that abortion patients will be subjected to woefully inadequate treatment.” “During these proceedings,” Judge Edith Jones wrote, “Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.”

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Under the ruling, two sections of HB 2 were upheld: the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a nearly hospital and a mandate that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug (responsible for killing at least 10 women) be administered according to FDA procedure. Sounds logical enough. Not to Planned Parenthood, apparently, which blasted the judges’ opinion as an infringement of a woman’s right (to sub par care). “Safe and legal abortion will continue to be virtually impossible for thousands of Texas women to access.”

If that’s true, it’s only because abortion tycoons like Planned Parenthood refuse to spare the money to upgrade their system. Like most of the industry, they say they care about women but refuse to prove it with simple modifications. As a result, 19 Texas abortion clinics have closed after failing to meet these common sense health standards.

For Governor Rick Perry (R) and state leaders, who survived death threats, Satan chants, political bullying, and even being chased down Capitol hallways for supporting the law, Thursday’s victory was especially sweet. “The people of Texas have spoken through their elected leaders and in support of protecting the culture of life in our state,” Governor Perry told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit’s decision was a huge rebuke of state Senator Wendy Davis, who became a household name for single-handedly trying to keep Texas’s abortion regulations as lax as possible. Thanks to this ruling, Americans are finally getting a picture of who the real extremists are.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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