Reflections from the US environment: Zoe’s Law

Yesterday, the NSW lower house passed the Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill (No. 2) 2013 to amend the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).  This version of Zoe’s Law establishes a separate offence for actions that cause serious harm to or the destruction of a foetus. There are a wide range of legitimate criticisms of Zoe’s Law that need examination before becoming law, as the Bill will still need to pass the NSW upper house early next year.

The history of Zoe’s Law actually provides a little insight into where the criticisms of this piece of legislation stem from. When looking for the original text of the Bill, I came across three different Bills before the NSW parliament this year purporting to be a “Zoe’s Law”.

The one that passed yesterday, as you can see above, is the (No. 2), and was sponsored by Chris Spence MP, a Liberal Party MP. There are some interesting facts about Spence in his Wikipedia entry and its references. Before joining the Liberal Party, Spence was a member of One Nation and president of the One Nation Youth Wing, standing twice as a One Nation candidate in elections. Since joining the Liberal Party, Spence has said that his involvement in One Nation was a mistake. As an interesting aside, Spence was also the electoral officer of “Liberal powerbroker” Chris Hartcher, who provided the paperwork for and witnessed the statutory declarations against Belinda Neal and John Della Bosca in the “Iguanagate” scandal. What brings Spence to the party on this mater however is that he is the local MP for Brodie Donegan, a woman who lost her 32-week old foetus after being hit by a driver under the influence of drugs.

Before the law that passed the lower house existed, here were two previous versions of “Zoe’s Law”, sponsored not by Chris Spence, but by Fred Nile MP. Yes, that Fred Nile – aka Reverend Fred Nile of the Christian Democratic Party – a very vocal advocate against gay marriage and homosexuality. The Christian Democratic Party policy platform includes strong opposition to abortion and believes that it should be banned, and that abstinence only sex-education is the only acceptable form of sex-ed in schools. Fred Nile’s version was developed with no consultation or consent from Brodie Donegan.

In the previous Fred Nile version of “Zoe’s Law” available (the “No.1”), the language of the Bill is telling. The object of that Bill was to “establish a separate offence for conduct causing serious harm to or the destruction of a child in utero”. The use of the term “child” here, that is, “a young human being”, rather than “foetus”, immediately denotes a state of personhood. Using this term makes the only difference of a child before birth and after birth is its location, not its viability or its capacity to survive outside the mother’s uterus. As a result, the term “in utero” is required to designate the particular location of the “child”. As a contrast, “foetus” however denotes reliance on the mother’s body for life, it does not possess its own personhood and information about its location is superfluous.

While the latest version of “Zoe’s Law” changes the term “child” to “foetus”, however (and this is a big however), it clearly states that:

an unborn child is taken to be a living person despite any rule of law to the contrary

An unborn child is defined as the foetus of a pregnant woman that is at least “20 weeks’ gestation” or, where gestational age cannot be determined, has a body mass of least 400 grams.  This immediately creates personhood in law for a foetus that has a gestational age of 20 weeks or more. Why this figure? Why 20 weeks?

It’s no coincidence that 20 weeks is also the point at which some of the most extreme anti-abortion laws put forward by Republican Party politicians over the last three years in the US come into effect. This is one measure used by the GOP Tea Party to skirt around the Constitutionally protected right of US women to an abortion before “viability”. Viability means the ability for a foetus to exist on its own outside of the uterus PROVIDED that substantial medical assistance is provided. To put this into context, actual viability is typically deemed to be about 28 weeks (or seven months) without substantial intervention, and this was the definition of viability accepted by the US Supreme Court in Row v Wade.

At 20 weeks, chance of viability is considered to be 0%. If a baby is born before 22 weeks, resuscitation generally does not occur due to major disability. When I completed my Bachelor of Biomedical Science a couple of years ago, contemporary medical science stipulated 24 weeks as the absolute minimum of survival of a baby born, however this was survival with significant disabilities and substantial medical intervention. To put it simply, the foetus’ organ development is just not advanced enough for survival before these dates. Even slightly premature babies suffer health difficulties. I was born premature at around 8 months and spent my first days in an incubator, and have chronic asthma (the only one in my family) correlated with preterm birth.

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Me in an incubator (c) lexsanitas

So, when Zoe’s Law defines an unborn child at 20 weeks, I find it scary. I find it scary for women’s rights to access reproductive health services, such as abortions, and I find it scary when I think about attempts to redefine viability by politicians rather than experts, such as neonatal physicians and doctors.

Now, Zoe’s Law Mk II, does include the following provision:

This section does not apply to or in relation to: (a) anything done in the course of a medical procedure or medical treatment, or (b) anything done by, or with the consent of, the pregnant woman concerned.

On its face, this provision is comforting. It reiterates the notion that Zoe’s Law is intended to give some sort of acknowledgement of the loss of a potential baby as a result of an attack (deliberate, reckless or negligent, such as with dangerous driving) to a pregnant woman. I remember when I was studying criminal law, and I felt torn by the notion that a pregnant woman who loses her baby as a result of an attack, in particular, for example domestic violence against the mother, has no additional criminal recourse against the attacker beyond a criminal assault charge and other crimes specifically against the mother. I get this. I can completely understand Brodie Donegan’s perspective, when she called for this legislation to be introduced. I think Brodie Donegan makes a compelling argument as to the validity of this law. And I get it. I know that I agree with the desire to have one’s loss recognised. I just don’t think that this is the way to do it.

Introducing this law is incredibly risky to women’s rights. I know that these provisions attempt to cover all bases and protect women’s reproductive rights. But it puts criminalising the destruction of or injury to a foetus on the table; making amendments a pen stroke closer than a law that isn’t there at all. Such amendments could include changing the definition of viability, removing the protections for medical treatments, or, as may be possible, extrapolating the creation of personhood in this law to other criminal laws against women.

Creating foetal personhood is not the answer to this horrible situation experienced by Brodie Donegan and other women. It is medically and scientifically faulty law. Legal personhood should not be extended to a baby in utero. A feotus in utero is not capable of surviving on its own, and furthermore, exists solely within the pregnant woman’s body, covered by her legal personhood. Birth is the point of separation – where the baby is no longer a foetus, no longer a part of the mother’s body, but becomes a separate individual. Defining personhood before birth completely obfuscates and ignores the existence of a woman’s body between the baby and any third party.

By giving the foetus legal personhood, you are also giving the foetus rights against its mother. With the pregnant woman’s consent one of the pivotal “safeguards” in this law, the right of that person to give consent, can then be challenged. The autonomy of the pregnant woman becomes second to the personhood of the foetus.

That is why I disagree with this law. Any legal challenges brought on behalf of a foetus’ legal personhood risks a woman having to continue a pregnancy beyond the point at which she no longer can access reproductive services over her own body and violates her bodily integrity.

As an alternative solution, I agree with Hannah Robert’s proposal: a law that is focused on criminalising a violation of a pregnant woman’s right to continue with a pregnancy against her will. Such a law focuses on the mother, and the right of the mother to bodily autonomy. It attempts to criminalise any person that deliberately, recklessly or negligently violates a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy, to keeping her pregnancy, and having a child. This is the sort of right that is engaged in arguments against China’s previous one-child-policy, or a government attempt to control a woman’s reproductive rights and violate a woman’s bodily autonomy, such as forced abortions.

This is a more ethical construction, focused on the woman – an individual human being with existing legal rights –  and a more ethical example of how the law clumsily tries to give people resolution of their loss. The law can only do so much in this respect, which makes ethics the most important guidance in this process.

From a medical, scientific and ethical perspective, protecting the reproductive autonomy of a pregnant woman – not constructing personhood for a foetus – is the best answer.

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Game Changer: Women’s Health Protection Act

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Senator Blumenthal speaking at the announcement of the Women’s Health Protection Act Used under Creative Commons licence. (c) Senate Democrats at http://flic.kr/p/hwcW9Y

“A republican legislature in any state almost, as soon as they get elected to run the state legislature, they start going on offense with a whole variety of ways of trying to restrict choice, or trying to ban abortion. You don’t see the same thing in reverse; which is to say, when Democrats take over a State, they’re not out there leading on this issue.”

Chris Hayes on msnbc. View full video here.

As the past few weeks in the various courts across the United States have shown, the current term of GOP run State legislatures have been pushing hard to curb women’s reproductive rights. Perhaps emboldened by the backing of the Tea Party movement, legislatures like Texas and Oklahoma have passed laws attempting to get around a woman’s Constitutional right to abortion when it comes to medical treatment as espoused by Roe v Wade. These attempts have included redefining the point at which a fetus is deemed to be viable on its own outside the womb (sometimes described as “personhood”), thus triggering what the US Supreme Court deemed a justifiable limit on the right to privacy when balanced with the state’s legitimate interest in the woman’s health and prenatal life once it is viable. This “legitimate interest in a woman’s health” has guided the rhetoric behind much of the recent law-making by Republican State legislatures, such as in Texas and Oklahoma, where laws allegedly intended to “protect women’s health” and enable them to make “informed choices” have resulted in unjustifiable limitations of women’s reproductive rights by placing an undue burden on women seeking abortions.

But the game has now changed. In addition to the judicial actions launched by tireless organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood to protect women’s rights, Democrats are no long only reacting to proposed laws but are going on the offensive with the Women’s Health Protection Act.

The Women’s Helath Protection Act (WHPA) was presented to the US Congress last Wednesday, 13 November, by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Lois Frankel (D-FL).

The WHPA Bill aims to “protect a woman’s right to determine whether and when to bear child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services”. Pivotally, the WHPA recognizes that:

Access to safe, legal abortion services is essential to women’s health and central to women’s ability to participate equally in the economic and social life of the United States.

This is an incredibly powerful statement: a piece of legislation that recognizes that not only is access to abortion services a matter of individual liberty and self-determination, but is fundamental to achieving women’s economic and social equality. This is so powerful, and reminiscent of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s clear and resolute response to questions regarding reproductive healh services in foreign aid.

The core provisions of the WHPA act to prevent any legislation that attempts to bypass the women’s Constitutionally protected right to access an abortion through the imposition of burdensome administrative or regulatory requirements. These bypass laws have become increasingly common, such as recent cases highlighted on this site, such as in Texas and Oklahoma.

The WHPA sets out some examples of the kinds of requirements that would be unlawful:

  • Where a doctor is required to perform a test or particular procedure only in abortions, but not other comparative medical procedures;
  • Where an abortion provider is restricted from prescribing drugs based on good-faith medical d judgment;
  • Where an abortion provider’s ability to provide abortion services via telemedicine;
  • Any unique accreditations, resources, arrangements with hospitals, that is not imposed on medically comparable facilities;
  • Where a woman is required to make medically unnecessary appointments, either to the abortion provider or any other entity (such as a counsellor or religious advisor).

It is important to note that this is not an exclusive list, and any requirement imposed by a law that restricts women’s access to abortion services, in a manner not comparable with similar medical procedures, will also be deemed unlawful.

From a lawyer’s perspective, the WHPA also sets out burdens of proof in a manner that shifts the burden onto the government imposing the restriction. As a result, this attempts to address the risks that we’ve seen in Texas where the government was able to make a prima facie case that the requirements imposed in women were likely to be for their health, thus satisfying the burden of proof for the granting of a temporary injunction. Under the proposed law, a government would have to show that the measures “significantly” improve women’s health to successfully shift the presumption, with the burden requiring “clear and convincing evidence”. This is a higher evidentiary standard than on the balance of probabilities or preponderance of evidence.

There is a lot of great stuff in the WHPA; it is an act that takes into account all of the lessons learnt in the recent few years, and anticipates weaseling by anti-women’s rights legislatures. If this Bill passes, it will be historic, and put to rest the pain and angst suffered by women around the US facing uncertainty over their ability to access Constitutionally protected rights.

Key legal documents

Text of the WHPA Bill can be found here.

Doubling Down: Supreme Court refuses to hear Oklahoma’s anti-abortion arguments for transvaginal ultrasounds

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Part of Trudeau’s 2012 comic series on the transvaginal ultrasound legislation in Texas (but equally applicable in the context of this Oklahoma case) – Universal Uclick (c) 2012 G.B. Trudeau

For the second time in as many weeks, the US Supreme Court has rejected Oklahoma’s request that the court review an Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision invalidating anti-abortion laws.

This time, the law in question required women to undergo a “narrated ultrasound” before being allowed to proceed with an abortion. The original law (the “Oklahoma Ultrasound Act”, or HB 2780) patronisingly determined that

“[i]n order for the woman to make an informed decision, at least one (1) hour prior to a woman having any part of an abortion performed or induced… the physician [performing the abortion] shall

1. Perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman, using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly;

2. Provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting;

3. Display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them;

4. Provide a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable”

When read like this, it is clear that the experience intended by Oklahoma was to be a traumatic one; an experience aimed at manipulating or shaming a woman out of making decisions about her own health and body. From a statutory interpretation perspective, the first clause is particularly interesting – making a decision between a standard ultrasound or transvaginal ultrasound (an ultrasound on a stick inserted up the vaginal canal to the cervix) is based on clarity of viewing the embryo or fetus. There is no space in the Act’s provisions for a physician to take into account the necessity of the procedure, nor in deciding which ultrasound to go for, the wellbeing, comfort or desires of the woman (probably even less so if you take a purposive, rather than purely constructional interpretation approach). As transvaginal ultrasounds tend to provide higher quality resolutions in early stage pregnancies, the result is clear: you want an abortion in Oklahoma, you’ll have to have a physician stick an ultrasound up your vagina, while they narrate to you a story of the gestating embryo or fetus. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with transvaginal ultrasounds – they are an incredibly useful tool in women’s reproductive health, including in the abortion setting. However, having a law dictate that a woman must go through with what is an invasive procedure under the patronising guise of enabling them to make an “informed choice” is a completely different matter, and warrants fierce opposition. This is even more so given that abortion and reproductive health procedures are constitutionally protected rights.

In December 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that this patronising law was invalid as it violated women’s constitutional rights. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling is delightfully short, stating simply that the law is “facially unconstitutional”. In particular, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s finding that the law was in violation of:

  • Article V-59 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which fundamentally is about upholding the Rule of Law. This Article prohibits a legislature from creating a “special law”; that is, a law just for one particular subset of the population. Oklahoma therefore exceeded the powers given to it by the Constitution by passing a law that targeted only female patients, doctors and sonographers where women were seeking an abortion, not all patients, all doctors, and all sonographers in any medical situation.
  • Article V-46, which in a similar vein, provides that the legislature may not create a special law that grants a right to take a civil action (ie take a matter to court) only to a particular class of people. In this case, this related to the rights of a woman’s family, doctors, and the Attorney-General to seek an injunction against abortion providers who violate the law, and to seek damages from an abortion provider knowingly or recklessly violating the requirement to conduct a narrated ultrasound.

So after being struck down as unconstitutional by the Oklahoma District Court, then the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Oklahoma sought to appeal these decision at the US Supreme Court. Tuesday’s denial however means that the last door has closed on this law. With two decisions in the last two weeks, Oklahoma women can breathe a sigh of relief that these laws, putting women’s physical and mental health at risk, have been relegated back to the dark ages from which they came.

Key Legal Docs

US Supreme Court ruling

Here’s a link to the US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case by elegantly listing simply the case name under “Certiorari Denied” at the bottom of page 1.

State Supreme Court ruling

Here’s a link to the short and sweet Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling (Nova Health Systems v Pruitt 2012 OK 103 (292 P.3d 29)).

State District Court ruling

Here’s a link to the original Oklahoma District Court ruling (Nova Health Systems et al v Pruitt et al Case No. CV-2010-533) granting the permanent injunction (this was tricky to find!).

Improvidently Granted: Surprise Early Victory from US Supreme Court for Oklahoma Women’s Rights

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Used under creative commons licence, copyright to image held by Mark Fischer on flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos/7526267232/

In a surprising early turn of events, the US Supreme Court has dismissed Oklahoma’s appeal against a December 2012 ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court which struck down a ban on medication abortions as unconstitutional.

As you may recall, on Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court responded to questions posed to it by the US Supreme Court, seeking clarification on its interpretation of the impact of the law on Oklahoma women. Following this, it was expected that the case would then proceed to securing a place on the SCOTUS hearing docket this or next term.

This afternoon however, SCOTUS has dismissed Oklahoma’s case, stating in one single, elegant line that

“[t]he writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted”.

This effectively means that following a reading of Oklahoma’s answers, the US Supreme Court has changed its mind on granting Oklahoma the right to appeal, stating that it should not have accepted the case. Oklahoma’s case is therefore dismissed, and the original Supreme Court of Oklahoma’s ruling that the 2011 Oklhamoma law banning off-label use of abortion drugs was unconstitutional is upheld.

Given the legal events of the last two weeks, this is a fantastic win for women’s reproductive health and protection of Oklahoma women’s constitutionally protected rights.

Today’s US Supreme Court ruling in full (all one line of it) can be found here.

A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Appealing Texas to the US Supreme Court

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Used under creative commons licence, copyright to image held by Mark Fischer on flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos/7432028860/

Sometimes, the consequences of a law on individuals can be too abstract. The implications may be set before a court by lawyers, but when a decision is made that affects not only a woman’s rights but also the tangible, physical sense of control over her own body, its consequences are immediate.

On Friday, more than forty women were turned away from previously scheduled abortions at Whole Women’s Health clinics in Texas, and more than one hundred women have had their appointments cancelled at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin. Only a few days earlier, a Federal Court Judge had struck down parts of a Texas Law that required physicians performing abortions to conform to strict admission privileges requirements as unconstitutional.  On Halloween however, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal agreed to hear an appeal by Texas at a later date, while also putting the Federal Court Judge’s decision on hold. As a result, come Friday morning, the admission privileges requirement (even though deemed unconstitutional by a Federal Court Judge) came into effect, denying Texas women in areas unable to conform to the strict requirements their reproductive rights, and putting their health and safety at risk.

While the full appeal is yet to be heard, and the current stay of the decision only temporary until then, there is a risk that the Court of Appeal, may permanently uphold the constitutionality of the Texan abortion law reforms.

In a proactive response, the women’s health providers who filed the original suit have lodged an emergency application with the US Supreme Court to reinstate the Federal Court’s decision to strike down the Texan laws. In effect, they’ve given the Texas Attorney-General a taste of his own medicine.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Supreme Court has given Texas until next Monday (11 November) to respond to the appeal. Until then, the law will remain in place. Here’s hoping that even in granting a temporary decision, the Supreme Court recognises that the mere risk of violating Texan women’s constitutionally protected rights, as well as the risk to their health and access to essential services, far outweigh Texas’ clearly political position on this matter.

Halloween descends: Texas abortion law reinstated temporarily

In a fitting All Hallows’ Eve turn of events, the Texas Attorney-General’s emergency motion to reinstate the controversial abortion law following Monday’s District Court decision has been granted. Feel like banging your head against a table? Here’s the link to the decision, or alternatively read on.

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© Alexandra Phelan (2013)

Last night, the United States Fifth Circuit District Court of Appeal pressed pause on Justice Yeakel’s decision that requiring physicians performing abortions to have admission privileges placed undue burden on women seeking abortions, and was unconstitutional. As a result of granting the emergency motion and staying the District Court’s decision, the Texas law at the centre of these legal debates has come into effect. Like a temporary injunction, the Court of Appeal will hear the appeal in full at a later date, and come to a permanent decision on the law.  If you’re legally minded, how the Court of Appeal came to its decision is discussed in more detail below. Regardless of the outcome of that decision, it is likely that, in the words of Texas Attorney-General Greg Abbott (a leading Republican candidate for governor and the proponent of the law) “this case is going all the way to the United States Supreme Court”.

According to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one-third of Texas health centres providing abortions will be forced to cease providing them today. Planned Parenthood, who has 13 clinics in Texas, has already been forced to stop providing abortions at four of its clinics today, as they have been unable to find physicians satisfying the law’s required admission privileges.

In a positive turn however, the District Court of Appeal did not grant the emergency motion staying Judge Yeakel’s decision on ensuring that pregnant women who would not be suitable for surgical abortion can still access medication abortions up to 63 days from her last menstrual period. That being said, the fact that the District Court of Appeal describes these women as “mothers” demonstrates the unfortunate perspective from which the court approached this decision.

To stay or not to stay? How the Court of Appeal came to its decision

The emergency motion lodged by Texas requested that the Fifth District Court of Appeal stay the District Court’s Monday decision as if it had not been made, therefore allowing the Texas law to come into effect on 1 November 2013.

As is the case with temporary injunctions pending a full trial, a decision on a “stay pending appeal” is based on a series of tests to determine whether the stay should be temporarily granted, with a permanent decision coming at a later date. As a result, none of the actual facts of the case, “the merits”, are decided upon.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal considered four factors in its decision:

  1. Whether Texas made a strong showing that it was likely to succeed on the merits (i.e. is it likely to win at the later trial);
  2. Whether Texas will be irreparably injured if a stay is not granted;
  3. Whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and
  4. Where the public interest lies.

As you can see in the latter three points, in a case like this, compared to a purely commercial situation, it’s pretty difficult for the merits of the case to not be assessed to some degree. Unfortunately, as a woman’s health and human rights advocate, it’s hard not to read the Court of Appeal’s ruling as being essentially a decision on the merits, including the statement that “the district court’s finding … is not supported by the evidence, and in any event, “a legislative choice is not subject to courtroom fact-finding and may be based on rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data”. That is, legislators are completely entitled to make laws that are not based on any evidence, even if they justify the laws as being based on rational speculation. If you think that sounds a bit oxymoronic, you’d be right. Perhaps its the scientist in me, or the public health policy advocate, but when it comes to making decisions about women’s health, actual medical or other scientific evidence is critical in rationalising legislative restrictions. From a legal standpoint however, the sovereignty of the legislature is a well established element of democratic representation, and here, the Court of Appeal has made it clear that the decisions of the Texas legislature, even if based on evidence found by a court to be wanting, reigns supreme.

Fundamentally (see what I did there?), Texas pushed the argument that the laws these laws were crafted “to protect the health and safety of Texas women”. How delightfully paternalistic. While abortions may require extra protections to ensure they are carried out in a safe manner, that is due to their history as illegal and hidden procedures, carried out in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. It is the illegality of abortion that has caused these extra protections. In contemporary society, with legalised and widely available services for women’s reproductive health, abortion may be treated as any other medical procedure. As a result, the scrutiny of physicians performing abortions should be no more and no less than any other surgery or drug administration. It is the fact that abortions are singled out in these laws that demonstrates that they are discriminatory against women and in violation of their constitutionally protected reproductive rights.

The District Court of Appeal’s finding that the the State does have a case to make on the merits seems  superficial. However, such conclusions are often the case with temporary measures by courts, with full analysis of the merits taking place at a later date. The problem however, is the injury experienced by women in Texas per element three the four stage test set out by the Court above. How the Court came to the conclusion that having to travel 240 km (150 miles) to obtain an abortion is not an undue burden is beyond me. When the Court proposes that women drive (or bus, or train, or bicycle, or walk) to Corpus Christi, 160 miles away from Rio Grande City, I can completely understand why women cross the border to Mexico. If Texas legislators truly cared about women’s health and safety, they would ensure that all Texan women, regardless of race or whether they live in rural or urban areas, have access to abortions. It is quite clear that none of these laws are about women’s health, and the Court of Appeal’s failure to see through this, and failure to adequately weigh the detriment to Texas women in its decision to stay, is disappointing.

Worth watching

Check out Amy Hagstrom Miller on the Rachel Maddow show last night talking about the ruling.