By Jessica Johnson
On Oct. 14, the U.S. Supreme Court annulled the Oct. 2 ruling made by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had allowed the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) requirement of House Bill 2 (HB2) to go into effect. This law would have required all abortion clinics to meet ASC standards. In an unsigned 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the ASC requirement, stating that the requirement cannot go into effect until the 5th Circuit Court thoroughly reviews the constitutionality of the case and makes a final ruling in January. The Supreme Court also allowed Whole Women’s Health Clinic in McAllen and Reproductive Services in El Paso to operate without hospital-admitting privileges.
As a result of this most recent ruling, the 13 abortion clinics in Texas that were closed during the two weeks between the rulings are now allowed to operate again. This includes two clinics in Dallas, Abortion Advantage and Routh Street Women’s Clinic. Immediately after the ruling, both clinics began re-staffing and scheduling abortions. All four clinics in Dallas will continue operating until the 5th Circuit Court gives its final ruling in January.
Joanne Underwood, director of the Convert-to-Life sidewalk counseling ministry for the Catholic Pro-Life Committee (CPLC), affirmed that the prolife branch of the Diocese of Dallas had previously shifted all sidewalk counselors to the two remaining Dallas clinics, but has now redistributed its staff and volunteer counselors in light of the recent ruling.
“We are once again praying and counseling outside the four operating abortion facilities in Dallas, and will continue as long as abortions are being committed,” Underwood said.
CPLC is also hosting its annual 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil outside of the Planned Parenthood at 7989 W. Virginia Dr., which opened in August. Volunteers from churches and schools of all denominations pledge to cover shifts over a 12-hour time period outside of the clinic, with each volunteer praying for one hour. The University of Dallas organization, Crusaders for Life, has committed to a 12-hour shift as part of its members’ participation in 40 Days for Life.
In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Crusaders for Life will resume Prayerful Presence for the rest of the semester at its previous location, Abortion Advantage.