A ruling that could shut down most of the remaining abortion clinics in Texas is expected before September 1. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel heard closing arguments on Wednesday.
“Judge Yeakel who, interestingly enough, interrupted both of the attorneys during their closing arguments to ask several questions about what an undue burden really was for women in a state as large as Texas as compared to a state like Rhode Island,” says Texas Tribune reporter Alexa Ura, who has been following the proceedings throughout and was in the packed courtroom as the case wound down.
The part of the law challenged in this case required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. It is being closely followed at the national level because of the implications.
“When this case gets to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals it’s going to be a very important one,” says Norm Ornstein, regular scholar for the American Enterprise Institute. “We’re going to have others I’m sure. We’re going to see this tested in a lot of places. Ultimately it will get to the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe.”
Ornstein says the case goes to the heart of Roe. v. Wade, and ultimately the court will have to decide if there is anything left to the landmark 1973 abortion ruling or if in a series of challenges such as this one it has been stripped of all meaning.