The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions on Jan. 7. The law passed in 2013, known as House Bill 2, banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, placed heavy new restrictions on clinics and doctors who perform the procedure and made it nearly impossible to obtain an abortion using a pill.
The court has twice reversed lower court orders that found HB2 unconstitutional. But abortion providers were in-part heartened after the U.S. Supreme Court put on hold for some clinics and doctors a number of the law’s most stringent mandates.
On Jan. 9, the same three-judge panel will tackle both Texas and Louisiana’s constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. In February, San Antonio-based U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Texas’ ban unconstitutional because it violated gay couples’ 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. Attorney General Greg Abbott, now the governor-elect, appealed the ruling to the New Orleans-based appeals court.
See here for the background. The expected January court date is the reason that Texas for Marriage made their debut recently. And with the motion to lift the stay on the original ruling, the stakes are higher now. We’ll likely have to wait a few months for the decisions, but the first week back after New Year’s day just got a lot more exciting.