On the 18th of August 2021, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal court in the U.S. to uphold a ban on the standard method of abortion after approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy, known as D&E (dilation and evacuation). Just last year, a 5th Circuit panel of judges struck down this ban as unconstitutional. The full 5th Circuit then took the unusual step of deciding on its own to vacate the panel decision and rehear the case in front of the full court in January, resulting in today’s decision.
Doctors who violate the ban on the procedure will face up to two years in prison. Major medical organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly oppose these types of abortion bans, noting, “These restrictions represent legislative interference at its worst: doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients. This is unacceptable.” Similar bans on D&E procedures have been blocked or are not being fully enforced in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
“This ban is about cutting off abortion access, and nothing else,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health (a plaintiff in this case). “In no other area of medicine would politicians consider preventing doctors from using a standard procedure. It should never be a crime for doctors to use their best medical judgment and follow the most current science. Texans deserve the best care available, and this law prevents that. As the six-week ban is looming, it’s even more apparent that these abortion laws are about making abortion completely inaccessible. Texas lawmakers are coming at us from both ends and will not stop until abortion is illegal.”
Click here to read the full article from reproductiverights.org