Texas Abortion Trial Ends With Judge to Rule by Oct. 29

A trial over Texas laws requiring hospital affiliations for doctors who perform abortions and saying only doctors can dispense pregnancy-ending drugs ended with a decision promised before the statutes are to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin, Texas, said today he’ll rule before Oct. 29 in Planned Parenthood’s suit on whether the laws are constitutional.

“I recognize the clock is ticking toward Oct. 29,” Yeakel said at the end of today’s proceedings. “I will get a final judgment out as quickly as I can get a final judgment out.”

The nonjury trial started two days ago.

State Solicitor General Andy Oldham today called the organization’s case a “house of cards” and criticized University of Texas demographer Joseph Potter, a Planned Parenthood witness.

“Dr. Potter makes a bold claim,” Oldham said in closing arguments, referring to the assertion that the laws would cause about 22,000 Texas women to lose access to abortions. He accused Potter of “parroting” Planned Parenthood positions and producing a biased study of the issue.

Janet Crepps, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued in her closing for the other side that one-third of the state’s abortion providers will stop performing the procedure if the hospital-affiliation law takes effect as planned.

She defended Potter as a “well-credentialed demographer” and said the evidence he cited was not in dispute.

The case is Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. Abbott, 13-cv-00862, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin).

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