TX/MS: Same court renders opposite rulings on same law in two states

Mississippi abortion clinic remains open

This past March a three-judge, all female panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a Texas statute requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.

The court rejected the abortion industry’s claim that such a law would create an “undue burden” for abortion-minded mothers if it had the effect of closing down clinics. Justice Edith Jones wrote in the majority opinion:

[A]n increase of travel of less than 150 miles for some women is not an undue burden under Casey.  Indeed, the district court in Casey made a finding that, under the Pennsylvania law, women in 62 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties were required to “travel for at least one hour, and sometimes longer than three hours, to obtain an abortion from the nearest provider.”…

[T]he Supreme Court recognized that the 24-hour waiting period would require some women to make two trips over these distances…[but] did not impose an undue burden. We therefore conclude that Casey counsels against striking down a statute solely because women may have to travel long distances to obtain abortions.

But yesterday, a three judge, all male panel from the same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against a Mississippi law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. The opinion stated such a law would place an “undue burden on a woman’s right to choose an abortion in Mississippi” – “in Mississippi” being the operative words.

Even though the latter three justices understood they were countermanding the “virtually identical law” their court had just upheld in Texas, the difference, they said, was that under discussion was the lone abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi.

The majority therefore concluded it would place an “undue burden” on a pregnant Mississippi mother to force her to cross state lines to obtain an abortion.

Thus, an abortion clinic five miles from one’s home but in another state is an “undue burden,” but a clinic 150 miles away but in the same state is not, so has determined the 5th District Court.

New court edict: Minimum of one abortion clinic per state?

743042-daede7b2-9dab-11e3-b163-d60ea6e39be3One might logically conclude the court’s new “one clinic” threshold would block Mississippi or any other state from passing or enforcing any law that would have the effect of closing its last remaining mill.

This is a new legal phenomenon, since the dwindling number of abortion clinics has now rendered five states in such a predicament. The court responded to logic in its decision:

[T]he State argues that our opinion would preclude the State from closing the Clinic for sanitation violations because, like H.B. 1390, such action would impose an undue burden on the right to an abortion by closing the only clinic in Mississippi.

Nothing in this opinion should be read to hold that any law or regulation that has the effect of closing all abortion clinics in a state would inevitably fail the undue burden analysis.

But the court didn’t provide any guidelines as to what sort of law it would consider acceptable. It’s a crap shoot. Nor did it explain how closing a clinic for sanitary violations to protect the health and safety of women is good, but forcing abortionists to provide continuity of care in hospitals to patients they injure is not.

One also wonders how the court would react if another clinic opens in Mississippi? Would the state then be allowed to enforce this law, just so long as the lesser of two substandard abortion clinics remains operational?

Supreme Court game on?

Abortion proponents are jumping for joy at yesterday’s decision, one proclaiming “game over.”

Not so fast. All this decision means is it is ever more likely the question whether admitting privileges places an “undue burden” on abortion will end up before the Supreme Court. According to MSNBC:

Federal courts have been split on the broader question of admitting privileges laws, and whether they violate a woman’s right to an abortion by shutting down clinics. In November, the Supreme Court signaled it had the votes to accept the case and resolve that question.

At that time, in regard to the Texas admitting privileges case, according to MSNBC:

All five of the Justices appointed by Republican presidents, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined in the order to let the law go forward; all four of the Justices appointed by Democrats said they would have waited until the court had fully considered its constitutionality.

That’s a pretty positive signal.

emilio garzaIn a stinging dissent of the Mississippi ruling, Judge Emilio Garza (pictured right) pretty much outlined our side’s case, noting numerous holes and illogic in the majority opinion:

Mississippi had previously required all doctors affiliated with outpatient ambulatory surgical facilities to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, but expressly exempted Level I abortion facilities….

H.B. 1390 eliminated this exemption…. Critically, however, the Act neither directly closes the Clinic, prevents the Clinic’s physicians from obtaining admitting  privileges nor authorizes the State to intervene in the hospitals’ decision-making.

Moreover, the Act, as the majority correctly holds, is amply supported by a rational basis…. The admitting-privileges requirement both strengthens regulation of the medical profession and protects maternal health…. In sum, the purpose of H.B. 1390 is to protect women seeking abortion services from the known risks of complications….

“The 5th Circuit actually lowered the standard of care for abortion mills,” observed Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman in an email. “Doesn’t that leave women with an undue burden to a botched abortion?” More from Garza:

Applying Casey, a panel of this Court recently concluded that “an increase of travel of less than 150 miles for some women is not an undue burden….” The majority gives these binding principles a passing nod before setting them aside for the sole reason that this case happens to involve the crossing of state borders….

Casey did not contemplate whether the availability of abortion in neighboring states affects the undue burden analysis….

In 2011, prior to the Act’s passage, nearly 60% of Mississippi women who obtained abortions already traveled to other states for those services. Thus, the Act would likely not impose any undue burden on their access to those very same out-of-state providers….

Decision creates “patchwork system” court feared

The majority also echoes the district court’s fear of a “patchwork system where constitutional rights are available in some states but not in others.”… [T]he majority has unwittingly instituted its own “patchwork system”: If all undue burden analyses must stop at state borders, the existence of an undue burden will depend, in part, on a plaintiff’s location relative to those boundaries…. This result is logically and practically untenable - all the more so in regions where populations are denser and urban areas often straddle state borders….

Lastly, the sole act of crossing a state border cannot, standing alone, constitute an unconstitutional undue burden on the abortion right because the Constitution  envisions free mobility of persons without regard to state borders. The Majority’s conceptual approach runs headlong into the well-established “constitutional right to travel from one State to another.”…

“Cannot have it both ways”

The majority concludes by denying that it establishes any per se rule. “Nothing in this opinion,” the majority declares, “should be read to hold that any law or regulation that has the effect of closing all abortion clinics in a state would inevitably fail the undue burden analysis.”…

The majority simply cannot have it both ways. So long as the undue burden analysis is confined by Mississippi’s borders, the closure of that state’s sole abortion provider must be an undue burden….

Even accepting that the majority’s factors somehow narrow its holding, I find its ad hoc approach to be unworkable…. The message for future courts and litigants is that a law causing the closure of all abortion providers in a state imposes an undue burden - unless it does not impose such a burden. The use of such an unprincipled approach to strike down as unconstitutional a state’s exercise of its sovereign power to protect its citizens is particularly troubling….

Despite the majority’s attempt to narrow its reasoning, today’s opinion can only be read to mean that a law or regulation causing all of a state’s abortion providers to close, such that women must cross a state border to obtain abortion services, imposes an unconstitutional undue burden on the abortion right.

[Top image via Los Angeles Times]

Pro-life vid of day: Duggars campaign for TN’s Amendment 1

Duggars-Pro-Life-Anti-Abortion-Shirts-490x245by Hans Johnson

The Duggar family is known for promoting their Christian family values on their popular reality show 19 Kids and Counting.

Not as well-known is their involvement in the pro-life movement supporting pro-life candidates and laws. Last October husband and father Jim Bob compared abortion to the concentration camps of World War II. He was supporting Ken Cuccinelli in his bid for governor of Virginia at the time, and there were calls for the campaign to distance itself from his remarks.

Mr Duggar did not back down, saying, “Let me clarify. We have since 1973 had 55 million abortions, so what we have going on is a baby holocaust.”

Wife Michelle used the same term previously in Tennessee, where they are supporting the Amendment 1 pro-life referendum. According to Nashville Public Radio, the amendment would “strip away language from the state’s constitution that makes having an abortion a woman’s fundamental right. Supporters contend this will make the constitution “neutral” on abortion, while critics maintain that this law tweak will give state lawmakers the latitude to pass abortion restrictions, as many other Southern states have done in recent months.” Michelle remarked:

Veterinary clinics for animals in Tennessee have higher standards in health and safety laws than there are for the abortion clinics involving human life. We must join together and end the baby holocaust that is taking place right here in Tennessee.

They appeared in this video for Every Life Is Beautiful:

YouTube Preview Image

Emaildailyvid@jillstanek.com with your video suggestions.

Pro-life blog buzz 7-29-14

pro-lifeby Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

  • A Culture of Life says STDs are showing an increasing resistance to antibiotic treatments:

    It’s a constant race with the bugs. We develop a new antibiotic, and after a while, we see the first signs of resistance appearing. Then the resistance spreads, until finally that antibiotic becomes useless. Then it’s time to move to the next antibiotic, if one exists. Earlier this month the [New Zealand] Herald reported that this is happening with Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the cause of gonorrhoea. And there are no more antibiotics left to treat it….

    Often STDs are described as being easy to treat or cure. That’s not consistent with the advice about infectious diseases from outside the ‘sexual health’ area. How often do hospitals advise visitors to stay away if they are sick? Yet in the ‘sexual health’ area, the advice is to just use condoms….

    Anyone in public health would see that as irresponsible.

    But the ‘just wear a condom’ advice is given particularly to young people who are consistently the worst at using condoms, and who are the most vulnerable to catching STDs.

  • At National Review, Michael J. New responds again to Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, who believes women should receive government funds to carry their pregnancies to term. However, she apparently objects to women receiving help from pregnancy resource centers because she believes that this only “increas[es] the population of single mothers and undermin[es] norms against pre-marital sex.” (Apparently, government welfare doesn’t?) New disagrees, and also says that despite Bruenig’s claims, economics may not play as large a role in a woman’s decision to abort.
  • American Life League’s Judie Brown discusses how society has descended into “a multitude of errors” due to the assumption that we can “play God” with human life in the areas of birth control, abortion, and IVF.
  • Big Blue Wave highlights a much-touted study showing that preborn children can learn nursery rhymes in the womb. Researchers are quoted as saying that this study “push[es] the envelope earlier” as to when children can learn, with one stating, “It is really before they are even born.” The more we learn, the more we discover how complex these so-called “clumps of cells” really are.


  • At Live Action, Calvin Freiburger responds to a divorced-from-reality post at RH Reality Check, in which writer Andrea Grimes objects to labeling Christian citizens and lawmakers “the American Taliban.” Why the objection? Because she feels this is insulting… to Muslims. Freiburger unleashes some sanity on her ridiculous assertions:

    I cannot imagine reading a more complete, more self-centered, more embarrassing lack of perspective within the next year. Prohibiting abortions, tightening medical regulations, and respecting Americans’ right to choose what they subsidize constitute “extremist Christian theocracy” on par with what you’d find in the Middle East….

    Translation: Either let us kill children here, or you’re just as bad as those who kill children over there. Either let us fine out of business anyone whose benefit packages don’t conform to our morality, or you’re in the same category as those who kill people for having socially-disapproved sex.

    Suicide-bombing churches. Stoning women for alleged adultery. Bans on teaching girls and employing women. Genital mutilation. Dropping walls on gays. Ethnic cleansing. Executing apostates from Islam. Prison time for selling unapproved books. Turning villages to ash.

    This is just a sampling of the hell the Taliban put millions of people through. What real patriarchy, real misogyny, real oppression, real theocracy, real homophobia, real morality police, and a real War on Women look like. What it’s really like to live without choice or privacy.

    Andrea, why don’t you do a Google Image Search for “Taliban victims” and get back to us on whether the results remind you of a pro-life demonstration?

[Photo of Holly Fisher and Reem Saleh Al-Riyashi via National Review Online]

Pro-life vid of day: PP prez compares abortion to colonoscopy

bill_moyers2by Hans Johnson

Bill Moyers (pictured right), former press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson and long-time PBS host, interviewed Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards regarding the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down a Massachusetts law mandating a 35-foot buffer zone for protesters at abortion clinics.

Perhaps the lowlight of the discussion resulted from the pro-choice insistence of hiding abortion behind any and all health issues. Richards said:

… [I]t is the right of women in this country to be able to access healthcare that they need without harassment and without the advice of dozens of people outside their health center. I mean, can you imagine if, you know, if men in this country, before going into their doctor had to walk through a gauntlet of protesters telling them, you know, whether it’s not to get a colonoscopy or just go down the list? It’s incredible.

How offensive. Not only has Ms. Richards deceived the public about Planned Parenthood’s cancer-screening methods, she now also equates opposition to the taking of lives through abortion to the opposition of procedures that save lives.

Email dailyvid@jillstanek.com with your video suggestions.

[Moyers photo via schema-root.org]

I survived the sexual revolution, which is why I fight to end it

womensissuesby Kelli

Forty years later, having won most of their early battles, the current “women’s issue” crowd now maintains there’s a war on us that won’t end until we can obtain contraception and abortion without so much as a co-payment even for women who can afford an education at Georgetown, and it must be paid for even by people who have always maintained conscientious objection.

Meanwhile, many of us have refused to assimilate, though we rarely hold press conferences about it. Bearing the wounds of the sexual revolution, we think, for our daughters’ sakes, there’s still room for discussion. Abortion and contraception (free at last, or mostly) aren’t the best we have to offer our girls….

We think the abortion-contraception damsel in distress dirge is unworthy of us, and quite disingenuous coming from women perfectly able to pay.

Our “women’s issue” sisters may be admirable for their tenacity in defining the debate, but they do not define us. We take issue with their version of “women’s issues” and we can speak for ourselves.

~ Peggy Haslar, The Pueblo Chieftain, July 26

[HT: Jill; photo via capecodcounselor.net]

San Francisco afraid to enforce buffer zone ordinance; Planned Parenthood ticked

Planned Parenthood abortion clinic angry San Francisco won't enforce buffer zone law against pro-life activists

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision striking down Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone law, the City of San Francisco has become squishy about enforcing its buffer zone ordinance, ticking off Planned Parenthood in the process.

San Francisco’s ordinance, which bans abortion opponents from entering a 25-foot line of demarcation around abortion clinics, is “virtually identical” to Massachusetts’ now voided law, minus 10 feet.

Now, San Francisco pro-life activists are allegedly feeling their oats and defying the ordinance by crossing the line.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

Anti-Choice Project launching new chapters

Anti-Choice_ProjectI wanted to spotlight our newest advertiser, the Anti-Choice Project , which is scouting for like-minded pro-life activists to launch new chapters.

Founded in 2009 by longtime pro-life activists Tom Herring and Andrew St.Hilaire (pictured below), Anti-Choice Project’s goal is to “educate Americans about the horror of abortion… through the public display of babies aborted during the 1st trimester of pregnancy.”

[Read the rest of this entry...]

Pro-life vid of day: Teacher sentenced for student “sex talks”

by Hans Johnson

Charles Reilly, a former art teacher, sports coach, and borough councilman, was sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison for inappropriate talks with 17 male Pine Hill Middle School students – even asking them to bring in semen-stained tissues for an “art project.”  He had pleaded guilty to charges including official misconduct and child endangerment.

Parents in the suburb of Camden, New Jersey, reacted at the time of the indictments here on Fox29 in Philadelphia:

Email dailyvid@jillstanek.com with your video suggestions.

[HT: LauraLoo]

Pro-choice porn prof pleads “no contest” to charges of grand theft, battery, vandalism

Mireille Miller-Young abortion proponent stole pro-life signsAm following up on the March 4 incident when abortion zealot Mireille Miller-Young, a professor of porn studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, went berserk when coming upon a pro-life display of abortion victims.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

PhD explains why she doesn’t use contraception

birth-control-pills-3by Carder

Imagine how pious I felt when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services demanded that employers pay for employees’ contraception, and the media clued me in to the fact that I was part of an elite squad. The 2 percent. The Catholic Mom Marine Corps. The Barefoot and Pregnant Dream Team.

Now that everyone is talking about contraceptives, I get lots of chances to out myself as a Catholic freak. Many people are quite amazed to meet a pants-wearing, educated woman who actually favors the contraceptive-free life. I get lots of amusing questions.

And it’s National NFP Awareness Week, so an opportune time to talk about chemical-free contraception.

~ The Federalist writer Rachel L, who holds a PhD in philosophy, explaining why she doesn’t use contraception, July 25

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Jill Stanek is a nurse turned speaker, columnist and blogger, a national figure in the effort to protect both preborn and postborn innocent human life.

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One of four remaining clinics that provide abortions in Kansas has closed amid a hostile political climate and financial challenges.

Its outgoing manager said Monday the decision was also prompted by a “lack of gratitude” from a young generation of women who take its abortion services for granted.

~ The Wichita Eagle, July 28

Sure, a woman’s main concern on a day-to-day basis may not be abortion rights. Her main concern may be basic healthcare for herself and her kids, or something else. But she has the luxury of abortion rights not being her main concern because it’s been an absolute guaranteed right in this country for 40 years. That means every woman in this country under the age of 40 never had to worry about getting an illegal, unsafe abortion….

That’s a long time to get lulled into a sense of security that that right is never going away — and therefore we don’t need to make its protection a priority….

~ Carla Hall, bemoaning the fact that women are taking their “abortion rights” for granted, The Los Angeles Times, July 29

[HT: Troy Newman; photo via ThinkProgress.org]

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