On Monday a federal judge sitting in Austin declared parts of Texas' new stringent anti-abortion law to be unconstitutional. In particular, Judge Lee Yeakel declared that the provision requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic would place an undue burden on women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
On the other hand, Judge Yeakel let stand a provision requiring doctors to follow an 18-year-old FDA protocol for performing drug-induced abortions. He did point out, however, that doctors must still be allowed to adjust the protocol to protect the health of the woman.
The protocol does not allow doctors to use medications for so-called off-label purposes. In other words, doctors would not be permitted to use a drug to induce an abortion if that was not the intended use of the drug.
Ironically enough, such a prohibition on off-label usage of medications does not apply to the state's use of pentobarbital to murder inmates. Wouldn't it seem logical that if you're going to restrict a doctor's ability to use a drug for an off-label purpose when it's medically necessary that you would also restrict the practice when the use has no medical benefit?
Gov. Rick Perry and his merry band of wingnuts continue to bandy about the trope that they are out there doing their best to protect the sanctity of life. Yet they have absolutely no problem strapping down an inmate and pumping a lethal dose of pentobarbital into their veins. Likewise, they have no problem supporting a policy in which unmanned drones fire missiles into crowds killing scores of innocent men, women and children halfway around the world.
The state, of course, is appealing.
"Renewed showdown over Texas anti-choice law highlights state-by-state battle for abortion access," Democracy Now! (Oct. 30, 2013)
"Oklahoma Supreme Court rules medication abortion ban unconstitutional, sends case back to SCOTUS," RH Reality Check (Oct. 29, 2013)