Another big win for the Texas Taliban and another big loss for women of childbearing age in Texas.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday allowed Texas to begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but eight abortion facilities in the nation’s second-largest state. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the law is poised to have the most devastating impact on abortion access of any such restriction across the country.
Under the law’s force, which will close 13 clinics, one out of six Texan women seeking an abortion will now live more than 150 miles from the nearest clinic.
Texas is an enormous state. It’s bigger than a lot of countries. It also has a large population, unlike big-in-size states like Wyoming and Montana. Eight places to get an abortion is nowhere near enough for such a colossus. 21 isn’t enough, and 8 is pathetic.
A lower court judge had previously ruled on August 28 that the law was unconstitutional, because it “would operate for a significant number of women in Texas just as drastically as a complete ban on abortion.” But in Thursday’s ruling, the three-judge panel in New Orleans said the law would not impose an “undue burden,” staying the district court decision as the state appeals.
Not undue, huh. Having to travel more than 150 miles is not an undue burden for, say, a woman in a low-wage job who can’t afford a car? Please.
George W. Bush appointee Judge Jennifer Elrod, writing for the Fifth Circuit, wrote that the district court judge had overreached because “in our circuit, we do not balance the wisdom or effectiveness of a law against the burdens the law imposes.” She conceded, “We do not doubt that women in poverty face greater difficulties.” But Elrod argued the court was required to find that a “large fraction” of women would be affected by the law, even as she noted that the number of affected women in rural Texas was 900,000.
Well but you see Texas has over 25 million people, so even though almost a million is a lot of women, it’s not a Big fraction. Sucks to be you, poor women in Texas.