The federal court of appeals upholds Texas law restricting second-trimester abortion proceedings

Wednesday’s decision equates to the first time a U.S. federal court has upheld a restriction on the procedure known as dilation and evacuation, as similar bans from other states have been blocked or not fully enforced, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which considered the ruling an important blow to the state’s access to abortion for women.

The ruling comes amid a plethora of legal fights in Republican-led states as a result of the Supreme Court’s growing conservative leanings and the hope of many anti-abortion rights activists that the court may reduce the rights of abortion. nationwide abortion.

In a split decision Wednesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas law was constitutional and that the lower court’s opinion preventing it from coming into force “was based on bad law, bad deeds and bad math “.

However, the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive rights, said the dilation and evacuation procedure is widely used and that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has referred to it as “based on the evidence and medically preferred because it results in fewer complications for women compared to alternative procedures. “

A group of abortion clinics and individual doctors had defied Texas law in 2017.

That year, the district court ruled that the Texas measure amounted to a ban on all dilation and evacuation abortions and imposed an undue burden on a large portion of Texas women.

In its appeal, Texas argued that the law did not impose a ban on second-trimester abortions, nor did it impose an undue burden on women because there are other safer, more humane alternative methods.
A July of the 5th Circuit of Three Judges upheld the district court’s ruling, but the full appeals court left the decision and voted to reconsider the case.

On Wednesday, the appellate court agreed with Texas, saying the district the court had determined “incorrectly” that Texas law was tantamount to prohibiting D&E abortions and that “physicians can perform D&E safely and comply” with Texas law by “using methods that are already of general use “.

Seven appeals court judges reached Wednesday’s decision, while five disagreed. The chief judge and another circuit judge agreed only in the trial of the majority. Three judges were challenged.

The court’s decision “will force many women to unnecessarily submit to what bank plurality unfairly characterizes as” alternatives “to the very common and safe procedure Texas has banned, painful, invasive, expensive and, in some cases, additional treatments. experimental behaviors that “significantly increased the risks to women’s health and well-being,” Judge James Dennis wrote in his dissent.

“This ban is about cutting off access to abortion and nothing more,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. “In no other area of ​​medicine would politicians consider the possibility of preventing doctors from using a standard procedure.”

Plaintiffs were represented by the Reproductive Rights Center, among others, whose president, Nancy Northup, said she “analyzes this decision and will consider all of our legal options.”

The decision is ahead of Texas’ so-called “heartbeat ban,” which will take effect next month. The law would ban most abortions at the onset of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur from six weeks of pregnancy and before many people know they are pregnant, and would allow citizens to sue people. which are believed to have helped break the law.

CNN’s Joe Sutton, Meg Wagner and Devan Cole contributed to this report.