Tag Archives: Greg Abbott

What 6-3 Supreme Court ruling on Texas abortion law means

Supreme Court votes 6-3 to block texas abortion clinic regulationsAs most know by now, the U.S. SUPREME COURT ruled by a lopsided 6-3 majority on October 14 that Texas could not enforce that part of its 2013 omnibus pro-life law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, this while the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals makes its decision on the case.

SCOTUS also blocked Texas from forcing abortionists at clinics in McAllen and El Paso to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinics, also pending the 5th Circuit’s final decision. All other Texas abortionists must meet this requirement.

Otherwise, other prongs of the far-reaching statute are being enforced, and the contended issues are still in play. Most pro-lifers did not expect Chief Justice Roberts to side with the liberals, and many were surprised to see Justice Kennedy do the same.

Before I get to analysis of the votes, I’d like to untangle the chain of events, which has involved two lawsuits and many, many court decisions.

Passage of bill: June 18, 2013

Wendy Davis filibuster HB2 anti-abortion billHB 2 was signed into law three weeks after state Senator Wendy Davis’s (pictured right) infamous filibuster trying to block it. It includes:

  1. a ban on abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, at which point it is known preborn babies feel pain
  2. a requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic
  3. a requirement that the RU-486 chemical abortion regimen follow protocol approved by either the FDA or American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  4. a requirement that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers

Planned Parenthood v Abbott: Sept-Oct 2013

On September 27, 2013, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to block two of the first three parts of HB 2 before they were scheduled to take effect on October 29, 2013: the admitting privileges and RU-486 requirements.

I’m going to skip the details and get to the bottom line, which is that as of today Planned Parenthood has failed.

The only recourse Planned Parenthood now has is to ask SCOTUS to reverse the decision of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and I explained on October 7 why it would be risky for the abortion industry to ask SCOTUS to hear a case on RU-486.

The ball is in Planned Parenthood’s court, while meanwhile the RU-486 requirement is currently in effect as well as the admitting privileges requirement for all abortion clinics save two, as described below.

Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey: Apr 2014-present

On April 3, 2014, five independent abortion clinics sued to block the fourth component of HB2 from taking effect on September 1, 2014: the ASC requirement. They also sued to block the admitting privileges requirement at two outlying facilities in McAllen and El Paso. abbott-greg_jpg_800x1000_q100

After a lower court judge intervened on behalf of the abortion industry, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (pictured left) asked the 5th Circuit to let the newly questioned parts of HB2 take effect while the state appealed.

On October 2, a 5th Circuit of three judges agreed to Abbott’s request.

On October 3, 13 of the remaining 21 abortion clinics in Texas closed.

The clinics filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court to block enforcement while they appealed to the full 5th Circuit.

On October 14, the Supreme Court agreed in a 6-3 decision.

All this means is clinics not up to ASC standards can remain open while their case is appealed, and abortionists in McAllen and El Paso can continue to abort without admitting privileges during the appeal process.

So here are the parts of HB2 in effect and not in effect at present. All parts of the law in italics or struck are in limbo. All other parts of the law are being enforced:

  1. a ban on abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, at which point it is known preborn babies feel pain
  2. a requirement that abortionists must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic – except in McAllen and El Paso
  3. a requirement that the RU-486 chemical abortion regimen follow protocol approved by either the FDA or ACOG
  4. a requirement that abortion clinics meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers

 What does the 6-3 Supreme Court split mean? 

Reading tea leaves on Supreme Court decision on TX anti-abortion lawThere are two schools of thought when trying to read the tea leaves for the day this case may return to the Supreme Court.

The following opinion is being heard quite a bit among DC pro-lifers who study and work with the Supreme Court:

There is confidence SCOTUS will hear either this case soon or a case regarding regulation of RU-486.

Again, the 6-3 ruling did not overturn the parts of the Texas law in question. It simply prevented them from taking effect while the 5th Circuit debates the constitutionality of the law.

Kennedy, being the swing vote, likely did not want to prejudice himself by tipping his hand, thinking he is going to hear this case.

Kennedy joining with the liberals made the tally 5-3.

Since the decision was already 5-3, there was nothing for Roberts to gain by making it 5-4. Roberts is probably playing politics and wanting to keep dialogue open with the liberals by siding with them.

The other school of thought is more cynical. Fr. Ben Johnson of LifeSiteNews.com expresses it well in an email statement: john-roberts-smile-ap

Justice Roberts (pictured left) has cast some praiseworthy votes on issues affecting the pro-life movement. However, his vote suspending enforcement of HB2 allows subpar abortion facilities to go back into the business of preying on women and killing unborn children – and it makes Roberts partially responsible for their actions until the law is upheld.

Roberts is the author of an incomprehensible ruling upholding Obamacare, a facially unconstitutional bill that some believe represents the greatest expansion of abortion funding in U.S. history. And he has left conservative justices twisting as he voted against them on procedural issues.

I would like to believe when the final vote on HB2 comes that Justice Roberts will be inclined to follow the better angels of his nature and uphold the inherent dignity of life at every stage of development.

However, I could see the liberal bloc convincing him to ignore the underlying issues and rule on the law’s effect, as he did in McCullen v. Coakley. Although a win, that ruling simply said the anti-free speech zone around Massachusetts abortion facilities was too large.

The court’s liberals would be content to have a similar decision on HB2  – that eliminating abortion facilities for hundreds of miles places an “undue burden” on women’s “right” to an abortion under Planned Parenthood v. Casey – in the process upholding bad precedent. I hope everyone will pray for Justice Roberts’ impending decision.

One final thought. Notice the abortion industry has not yet touched the 20-week ban in a lawsuit. There isn’t any other explanation than it expects the 5th Circuit would uphold the ban, creating a circuit court split with the 9th Circuit, which struck down Arizona’s 20-week ban in 2013. In the event of a circuit split, SCOTUS would be likely to hear the merits of the case, which the industry likely fears. How do you think a Supreme Court vote would go?

[Many thanks to Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life with her help on this post!]

Stanek wkend Q: What should Wendy Davis’s follow-up to her paraplegic ad be?

2014-10-11_0616

Yesterday the Wendy Davis campaign released a new ad attacking her Texas gubernatorial opponent Greg Abbott, who is a paraplegic.

The shockingly tasteless ad was immediately condemned not only by Republicans but by… everyone.

The Washington Post called the ad “one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see.” WashPo reporter Chris Cillizza tweeted:

CNN deemed the ad a “Hail Mary” by Davis, who is being trounced by Abbot in the polls 54% to 40%.

The Mother Jones headline: “If Wendy Davis thinks she can win an election by pointing out her opponent’s disability, she’s wrong.”

Dave Catanese of U.S. News & World Report tweeted, “Wendy Davis has gone off the rails.”

The Buzz Feed headline: “Wendy Davis ad subtly points out opponent is in a wheelchair with big photo of wheelchair.”

Texas Observer’s Christopher Hooks tweeted: ““Holy sh– guys. Think of the number of people this had to get past in the planning process.”

Kasie Hunt from NBC News tweeted:“The new Wendy Davis ad… just, Wow.”

The Fusion’s Jordan Fabian wrote: “Trailing by double digits in the polls, the Democrat has apparently decided to go down swinging. And she’s doing it in the ugliest way possible.”

I could go on and on… and on. Read more at defeatdavis.com.

Then the tweet hashtag got started, #NextWendyDavisAd. A sampling of the groaners…

I suggested that a new moniker for Davis to replace Abortion Barbie might be Paraplegic Skipper. Get it? Oy.

You get the idea. So what suggestions do you have for Wendy Davis’s next campaign ad?

[Top graphic via The Fusion]

Pro-life blog buzz 12-3-13

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

We welcome your suggestions for additions to our Top Blogs (see tab on right side of home page)! Email Susie@jillstanek.com.

  • Josh Brahm offers his advice to pro-life politicians on how to reduce their pro-life beliefs to a 30-second sound bite. This is vitally important, because abortion advocates have thus far been successful at using rape and incest cases to shut down debate:

    I am pro-life because we know the unborn are alive, because they’re growing. We know the unborn are human because they have human parents, and I think human beings like me and you are valuable.

    In fact, I think all human beings have an equal right to live, because they all have something special in common: they’re human. That’s why racism and sexism are wrong. Racism is wrong because it focuses on a surface difference that doesn’t morally matter and ignores the thing we all have in common, which is the thing that does morally matter: that we’re human.

    And because the unborn are clearly human, they should be given an equal right to life as well.

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  • Live Action reports that “Texas attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has put his money where his pro-life mouth is and announced grants to 13 nonprofits in Texas for the purpose of supporting adoption, the result of profits from the state’s relatively new pro-life license plates.”

    Naturally, abortion supporters objected to this option, but so far 2,300 people have made the choice to freely pay more for their plates knowing that the increase will benefit adoption. Now that is choice!

  • John Smeaton notes how the abortion industry is targeting pro-life Ireland by introducing a bill to allow abortions “in cases of fatal ‘foetal abnormality’.” He rightly points out that “the movement for abortion and the movement for eugenics have in fact always been closely associated with the former developing seamlessly from the latter.”
  • ProWomanProLife features a Canadian Physicians for Life article which argues that abortions should be defunded due to strained medical resources – and because they are never medically necessary. Europe is currently grappling with this issue, and the US is starting down the same road.
  • A Culture of Life questions the rush to vaccinate increasingly younger patients with Gardasil when more information is needed about its adverse affects. Japan has recently withdrawn support for the vaccine.
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Texas 20-week abortion ban goes into effect

You wouldn’t know it by the following Washington Post headline and photo, but the ban in Texas on abortions after 20 weeks, signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on July 18went into effect on October 29…

2013-10-30_1652

The 20-week ban was but one part of a powerful package of four anti-abortion provisions infamously filibustered by state Sen. Wendy Davis.

The measure additionally includes a requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles from where they slaughter babies, that abortion clinics follow FDA guidelines when administering the medical abortion pill RU486, and that abortion clinics raise their physical standards to those of ambulatory surgical centers. The first three were designated to take effect on October 29; the asc mandate will launch on October 2014.

Although Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards claimed the sum total of the new law would ensure “abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas,” abortion backers didn’t sue to block the entire package.

They backed away from what would seem to be the two most consequential components of the law – the 20-week ban and the asc requirement. After all, abortion pushers declared that forcing abortion clinics to come up to code would ensure closure of all but five of 67 abortion providers in Texas.

Instead, abortion proponents targeted the admitting privileges and RU486 mandates. In that regard, they won… temporarily. From NBC News:

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel decided Monday that the regulations requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital impeded on the rights of physicians to do what they judge is best for their patients and would unreasonably limit a woman’s access to state abortion clinics.

“The admitting-privileges provision of House Bill 2 does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her,” Yeakel wrote in his decision.

Although Yeakel ruled that Texas could regulate how a doctor prescribes an abortion-inducing pill, he said the law did not allow for a doctor to alter treatment taken in order to best safeguard the health of the woman taking it….

He wrote: “The medication abortion provision may not be enforced against any physician who determines, in appropriate medical judgment, to perform the medication-abortion using off-label protocol for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

Yes, it is irrational to want an abortionist to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of botches.

More from WashPo:

Yeakel indicated during court proceedings that he believes his decision will be appealed to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which has recently upheld numerous laws that restrict abortion. He said it could eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

WashPo was right. Pro-life Attorney General Greg Abbott – who is running against Davis for governor – immediately appealed the decision. From Star-Telegram:

Before filing his appeal, Abbott… said he expected the case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Federal judges have issued temporary injunctions against similar laws requiring admitting privileges in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama [sic], but this is the first case to get a final written decision from a district court….

In court papers, Abbott and his legal team argued that… Yeakel overstepped his authority and misapplied the law.

“The district court took that extraordinary step without citing – much less purporting to satisfy – the constitutional standard” for making its decision, the Texas court filing said.

Abbott asked the 5th Circuit to expedite the appeals process, but the soonest the court could consider the case is January.

Despite pro-abort attempts to overlook the victory, preborn babies 20 weeks and older are now safe from annihilation in the state of Texas.

Pro-life blog buzz 9-27-13

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

We welcome your suggestions for additions to our Top Blogs (see tab on right side of home page)! Email Susie@jillstanek.com.

  • Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights without Frontiers addresses claims that China’s one-child policy has ended as “false.” This is the 33rd anniversary of the barbaric policy.
  • Politico is claiming that the pink running shoes-wearing, peace sign-waving, late-term abortion defender from Texas, State Senator Wendy Davis, intends to run for governor next year:

    State and national Democrats have wooed Davis over the past few months for the uphill campaign against Republican state Attorney General Greg Abbott, the presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee.

  • Continue reading

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast actually settled for $4.3 mil, not $1.3 mil, for Medicaid fraud

ppfraud-320x240Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on July 24 that his office had obtained a $1.4 million settlement against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for Medicaid fraud, with the settlement to be split between the state of Texas, the federal government, and the whistleblower (former PPGC employee Karen Reynolds).

It turns out the AG was apparently only announcing his state’s cut. The total settlement is actually $4.3 million – almost $3 million more than previously known. From the Houston Chronicle today:

Planned Parenthood’s Houston-based affiliate clarified Tuesday that it settled for $4.3 million, three times the $1.4 million that Abbott reported a week ago.

His spokesman tried to explain the discrepancy, indicating Abbott intended to announce the smaller amount, which represents the “state’s designation.” But it’s unclear why Abbott wouldn’t have announced the whole amount.

The attorney general also jumped the gun with his press release, announcing the settlement before it had been finalized. (It has since been signed by all parties.)

When I called the AG’s press office to help me understand the discrepancy  I was greeted by a inexplicably rude man who wouldn’t even give me his name. His response before hanging up, “It means the investigation is not over.” Ok. Still don’t understand, but there you go.

Despite the confusion this would all seem to be good news, although the original charge was that PPGC “submitted more than $30 million in fraudulent bills between 2003 and 2009,” according to the Houston Chronicle, July 30.

“If the original claim that PP defrauded the taxpayer of $30 million is near accurate, it means that PP settled for 15 cents on the dollar,” wrote American Life League’s Jim Sedlak to me in an email. “No incentive there to stop committing Medicaid fraud.”

Abby Johnson’s lawsuit against the same Planned Parenthood affiliate is still not settled. Abby alleges PPGC committed “over $5.7 million in fraud,” according to her legal representation, Alliance Defending Freedom.

[HT: Jim Sedlak; graphic via ADF]

Busted: Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast must repay $1.4 mil for Medicaid fraud

ppfraudmgn

Last week I hypothesized that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s announcement that it was closing three clinics in Texas had nothing to do with new pro-life Republican laws and funding cuts, as it claimed.

Rather, I wrote, “was this really an attempt to erase dots between the shutdowns and PPGC’s problem with Medicaid fraud?”

Thanks, Chris!

So as it turns out, according to a press release today by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott:

After a whistleblower lawsuit was filed alleging improper billing practices by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, an investigation was opened by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General. The State’s investigation revealed that PPGC improperly billed the Texas Medicaid program for products and services that were never actually rendered, not medically necessary, and were not covered by the Medicaid program – and were therefore not eligible for reimbursement. For example, state investigators determined that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast falsified material information in patients’ medical records in order to support fraudulent reimbursement claims to the Medicaid program.

Under the agreement announced today, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast must pay $1.4 million to resolve the Medicaid fraud enforcement action.

PPGC is denying everything. According to DallasNews.com:

The allegations in this complaint are baseless and we are ending this case as a practical matter. Continuing this litigation in the hostile environment for women’s health would have ensured a lengthy and costly process that would have distracted our energies and required us to share the private medical information of thousands of women. We are ending this lawsuit in order to devote all of our time and energy to delivering high-quality, affordable health care.

Sure.

PPGC didn’t suddenly decide to settle the litigation. It knew last week when it floated its ruse that this was all coming down. Will MSM circle back to connect the dots? Betting not.

Now it makes more sense that PPGC would close its almost new $1.5 million Lufkin clinic – just about what it needs to repay the government.

[HT: LifeNews.com, Saynsumthn’s Blog; graphic via ketknbc.com]

Life Links 5-1-12

web grab.jpgby JivinJ, host of the blog, JivinJehoshaphat

  • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (predictably) vetoed another pro-life bill:

    Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday, April 30, vetoed bills requiring doctors to be present when abortion-inducing drugs are administered and creating a health care compact.

    The governor said he vetoed the abortion bill because it’s another attempt to place a regulatory burden on certain health procedures, existing options are safe and it intrudes on federal medicine and medical safety practices.

  • The State of Alabama has shot down abortion clinic owner Diane Derzis’ laughable attempt to stay on as de facto owner:

    Lease documents submitted to the state in support of Ochata Management’s application indicated that the clinic’s current operator, Diane Derzis, would serve as landlord to the applicant, and would be paid the difference between the clinic’s overhead and income each month in lieu of rent. That arrangement would clearly violate the terms of the consent decree, Dr. W.T. Geary Jr., director of the Bureau of Health Provider Standards, wrote in a letter rejecting the application.

    “It is clear that this arrangement would allow Ms. Derzis to remain involved in the center’s financial affairs and to be entitled to all the profits from the continued operation of the center; it does not allow for the proposed new operator to independently operate the center,” Geary wrote.

  • Judge Lee Yeakel (pictured left) has stayed a Texas law which would have prevented the funding of Planned Parenthood:

    U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin ruled there is sufficient evidence that a law banning Planned Parenthood from the state’s Women’s Health Program is unconstitutional. He imposed an injunction against enforcing it until he can hear full arguments. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed Judge Yeakel’s decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that it remove the injunction.

    Judge Jerry Smith then stayed Yeakel’s ruling so Texas won’t have to fund Planned Parenthood at this point:

    The ruling… reversed a lower court ruling Monday in favor of the family planning organization. The decision on Tuesday means the state is free for now to enforce a new rule banning Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program, Texas officials said.

  • South Carolina authorities are waiting on autopsy results to determine what additional charges to file against Aris Nichols after he stabbed his pregnant girlfriend in the neck:

    Brittney Jordan, 21, was several months pregnant when she was stabbed in the neck, police say.

    Aris Nichols, 39, is being held without bond in the Chester County jail on a single count of criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. Chester Police Chief Andre Williams said more charges are expected in the death of the unborn child….

    The unborn child, a boy, was named Tavaris Jordan, according to an obituary in Monday’s Herald. A graveside service is planned for today.

[Photo via utexas.edu]