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At 'Stand With Texas Women' rally.
The prospects for women's health in Texas are looking grim as a federal appeals court hears a challenge to the state's sweeping abortion restrictions. The case is going before a court deeply hostile to abortion rights:
[T]he same Fifth Circuit court that will hear today’s oral argument allowed the full law to go into effect while it is being litigated. That decision reversed a lower court, which found the admitting privileges requirement unconstitutional. Despite the fact that the admitting privileges provision was expected to, and indeed has, frozen a third of the state’s abortion providers, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court declined to block the law. The Court did, however, signal that it was likely to eventually take the full case, which also challenges a medication abortion restriction. (It does not challenge the 20-week ban that was part of the same law.) [...]

Two of the judges who will hear the case today have already signaled their views by voting to let the law immediately go into effect. The third, Edith Jones, upheld Texas’s forced-ultrasound-before-abortion law, and who was the subject of a rare ethics inquiry following remarks she made suggesting African-Americans and Latinos are “predisposed to crime.”

Meanwhile, as the law's restrictions, including requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, take effect, Texas women are being forced to travel greater and greater distances, at greater and greater expense, to obtain abortions. Women in rural areas, and especially undocumented immigrants, face enormous hurdles, with long travel distances that can include border checkpoints. As a result, more and more women are attempting self-induced abortions using the ulcer drug misoprostol. Though misoprostol often works, the fact that women are turning to an off-label use of an illegally obtained drug without medical care is a strong reminder that Texas Republicans were always lying when they claimed that the clinic-closing law was about women's health.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 08:48 AM PST.

Also republished by Pro Choice and Daily Kos.

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