This article is over 9 years old


Texas Abortion Clinics File Emergency Appeal To US Supreme Court

Thirteen clinics want permission to re-open while lawsuit proceeds



To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>


Thirteen clinics want permission to re-open while lawsuit proceeds. 

The clinics shut down October 3 following a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. They could not upgrade their facilities to meet the standards of outpatient surgery centers, a central requirement of the new Texas law.

The clinics have sued over the law, and the lawsuit is still being appealed. But the Fifth Circuit ruled the law could go into effect during the appeal, effectively shuttering the clinics. The U.S. Supreme Court could choose to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision, allowing the clinics to re-open.

Nicole Casarez, a visiting professor at the University of Houston Law Center, thinks that is unlikely.

“We know that in the earlier litigation over this Texas statute, this same thing happened, and the Supreme Court did not step in,” Casarez said.  

That lawsuit was over a different part of the Texas law, the rule requiring doctors doing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene, many clinics had to close.

But Casarez thinks eventually the Justices will hear a full case involving state laws that impose strict rules on abortion providers. It could be a case involving the Texas law, or similar laws in other states like Wisconsin.

“I do believe that ultimately this will go before the Court, because there are conflicting interpretations being applied in different circuits, different areas of the country. Ultimately, the only court that can resolve those conflicts is the U.S. Supreme Court,” Casarez said.

As of now, no more than eight abortion clinics in Texas remain open. They operate as outpatient surgery centers, as the new law requires, but are located only in the major cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.