Must Read Texas – October 28, 2013

District Court Strikes Down Part of Texas Abortion Law, Appeal to 5th Circuit;
Perry’s Response; Burka on the Challenges Facing Wendy Davis’ Campaign
Good evening from Austin.
Late again.  Sometimes we are so late that we are early.

Here’s the brief:


AP reports:

A federal judge determined Monday that new Texas abortion restrictions place an unconstitutional burden on women seeking to end a pregnancy, a ruling that keeps open dozens of abortion clinics across the state while officials appeal.

The ruling by District Judge Lee Yeakel came one day before key parts of the law the Legislature approved in July were set to take effect. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers argued in their lawsuit that a provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles away would have effectively shuttered about a third of the state’s 38 clinics that perform abortions.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office argued the law protects women and the life of the fetus, immediately filed an appeal with the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.“I have no doubt that this case is going all the way to the United States Supreme Court,” Abbott said during stop in Brownsville, Texas, as part of his campaign to replace retiring Gov. Rick Perry.

Although several conservative states in recent months have approved broad abortion limits, the Texas ones were particularly divisive because of the number of clinics affected and the distance some women would have to travel to get an abortion.

Federal judges in Wisconsin, Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama also have found problems with state laws prohibiting doctors from conducting abortions if they don’t have hospital admitting privileges.

All the other appeals — including the one from Mississippi, which like Texas is within the 5th Circuit — deal only with whether to lift a temporary injunction preventing the restriction from taking effect. The Texas appeal could be the first that directly addresses the question of whether the provision violates the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.

The admitting privileges provision “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion,” Yeakel wrote.

In another part of his ruling, Yeakel, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, partially blocked the provision requiring doctors to follow an 18-year-old U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol. He found that the state could regulate how a doctor prescribes an abortion-inducing pill, but the law failed to allow for a doctor to adjust treatment in order to best protect the health of the woman taking it.

Abortion-rights supporters complained that requiring doctors to follow the FDA’s original label for an abortion-inducing drug would deny women the benefit of recent advances in medical science.

Other portions of the law, known as House Bill 2, include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and a requirement beginning in October 2014 that all abortions take place in a surgical facility. Neither of those sections was part of this lawsuit.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, said the judge did not go far enough.

“Nearly 40 percent of the women we serve at Whole Woman’s Health choose medication abortion and now Texas is preventing these women from the advances in medical practice that other women across the United States will be able to access,” she said.

The law requiring admitting privileges was the biggest obstacle facing abortion clinics in Texas, and the ruling gives them a temporary reprieve until new regulations go into effect next year.

Mississippi passed a similar law last year, which a federal judge also blocked pending a trial scheduled to begin in March. Mississippi’s attorney general asked the 5th Circuit to lift the temporary injunction so the law could be enforced, but the judges have left it in place signaling they believe there is a legitimate constitutional question.

Unlike the Mississippi case, Yeakel’s order is a final decision, setting the groundwork for the 5th Circuit to review the merits of the law, not just an injunction against it.

The proposed restrictions were among the toughest in the nation and gained notoriety when Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 13-hour filibuster against them in June. She is now the only Democrat in the race for Texas governor.

Davis said the ruling didn’t surprise her.

“As a mother, I would rather see our tax dollars spent on improving our kid’s schools than defending this law,” she said in a statement.

During the trial, officials for one chain of abortion clinics testified that they’ve tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision. Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges. Many have requirements that doctors live within a certain radius of the facility, or perform a minimum number of surgeries a year that must be performed in a hospital.

Beth Shapiro, chairwoman of board of directors of Lubbock’s Planned Parenthood Women’s Health Center, said no hospital in Lubbock has granted privileges to the lone doctor from East Texas who flies in to do abortions when there are procedures scheduled. There is not incentive for hospitals to do so, she said.

“I don’t see why local hospitals would give privileges to someone who’s not going to admit patients,” Shapiro said. “I don’t see what the business and financial incentive would be.”


Here’s a statement released by Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) following the ruling:

“Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently. We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”


Here’s an interesting item from Paul Burka’s TM blog:

What are the main challenges for the Wendy Davis campaign? Aside from the basic math of a statewide election, that is? Well, according to one trusted Democratic operative, the biggest is “to get everyone to swim in the same direction.” For instance, should Battleground Texas give up its identity and just be part of the Davis campaign? Perhaps the biggest mistake the Democrats have made was to roll out Battleground as an Obama-related organization.

Another issue is how Steve Mostyn will fit into Wendy world. Readers may recall from the 2010 governor’s race that Mostyn went off on his own, airing negative TV spots against Rick Perry, calling him a coward for refusing to debate. That was a waste of money. Perry is many things, but a coward is not one of them. Another issue for the Davis campaign, at least according to the operative I spoke with, is whether the campaign should be located in Fort Worth or Austin. The operative believes it should be in Austin, the political crossroads of Texas where the press corps just happens to be located. One piece of good news for the Democrats is that “the voter file is in good shape,” thanks to a heavy turnout in the 2008 primary election. The operative also expressed concern that people in the campaign have a tendency toward defensiveness, to show excessive concern about what they are going to be attacked for, rather than defining the Davis operation as a bold campaign that looks forward instead of over its shoulder.

All this boils down to one question: Who’s in charge here? The hiring of Karin Johanson is a necessary action for the Davis campaign, and one that will give it enhanced credibility. The presence of Johanson should bring discipline to the Davis campaign. I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t have discipline, just that discipline is needed. Johanson is perhaps best known as the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, when her party took back the House of Representatives.

– FWST reports (behind paywall) Gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) had to sign an affidavit to vote as the state’s new Voter ID law forced her to do so since her name on her identification did not exactly match that on the voter rolls.
– AAS 
reports (behind paywall) that the Voter ID law has been “smooth” despite a few challenges.

2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will next travel to South Carolina.
– TT’s Alexa Ura 
reports on a proposal by gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-TX) to limit spending and the Rainy Day Fund at a stop in Brownsville.  Here’s the AP report on Abbott’s proposal.
– Attorney General candidate and Texas Railroad Commission chairman Barry Smitherman 
released a new web ad, “Conservative Crusade.”
– Don Huffines to 
primary State Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas).
– The Chron 
reports that Houston Mayoral challenger continues to self fund his campaign.

Other stories of interest:
– U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has filed legislation to make Obamacare optional for one year.
– The 2014 Final Four is 
estimated to generate $276 million in spending for the DFW area.
reports (behind paywall) that UTSA had the largest enrollment decrease in Texas.

Lighter clicks:
– Adorbs.
– NYT on NFL Network’s 
gains after 10 years.

Today’s Source of Inspiration:
– David Ortiz inspired his team before a Game 4 comeback.


TT: Davis Hits Cruz on Role in Shutdown (10/28/13 11:58pm)

TT: Abbott Proposes Limits to Spending and Rainy Day Fund (10/28/13 11:58pm)

AP: Fed judge: Texas abortion limits unconstitutional (10/28/13 11:58pm)

AP: Perry Ruling won’t stop anti-abortion efforts (10/28/13 11:58pm)

AP: Abbott says he’ll fight to keep Texas budget small (10/28/13 11:58pm)

AP: Feds say Gulf Cartel money laundering ring smashed (10/28/13 11:58pm)

DMN: Federal judge tosses key provision of Texas’ new abortion law (10/28/13 11:57pm)

DMN: Rep. Joe Barton proposes bill to make Obamacare optional (10/28/13 11:57pm)

DMN: 2014 Final Four projected to generate $276 million in spending (10/28/13 11:57pm)

DMN: How will the American Airlines-US Airways lawsuit turn out? Depends on whom you ask (10/28/13 11:57pm)

DMN: Republican developer Don Huffines says he’ll be challenging Senate veteran John Carona from the right (10/28/13 11:57pm)

FWST ($): State Sen. Wendy Davis has to sign affidavit to vote (10/28/13 11:57pm)

CHRON ($): Davis’ reaction to ruling further proof of fine political line (10/28/13 11:57pm)

CHRON ($): Coalition wants better air near Houston port communities (10/28/13 11:57pm)

CHRON ($): Friends, colleagues pay tribute to Bud Adams (10/28/13 11:57pm)

CHRON ($): Hall continues to fund campaign out of own pocket (10/28/13 11:57pm)

CHRON: Abbott appeals HB2 ruling (10/28/13 11:54pm)

CHRON: Hall touts economic development strategy at local gym (10/28/13 11:54pm)

CHRON: GOP rally includes speeches, straw votes (10/28/13 11:53pm)

SAEN ($): Middle name on ID flags Davis at polls (10/28/13 11:38pm)

SAEN ($): UTSA enrollment drop is largest in Texas (10/28/13 11:37pm)

SAEN: Two couples in Texas sue to lift ban on gay marriage (10/28/13 11:16pm)

SAEN: Judge strikes down part of new Texas abortion law (10/28/13 11:14pm)

AAS ($): Biden latest politician to visit Austin domestic-violence hotline (10/28/13 11:01pm)

AAS ($): Judge blocks key part of Texas abortion law (10/28/13 11pm)

AAS ($): Voter ID rollout smooth, despite complaints about women being turned away (10/28/13 10:59pm)

YAHOO NEWS: Is Ted Cruz a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as president? (10/28/13 10:10pm)

NBC NEWS: Ted Cruz in Iowa: Has he sown the seeds of a 2016 GOP presidential candidacy? (10/28/13 10:09pm)

KXAN NBC AUSTIN: Austin Film industry expected to grow (10/28/13 10:08pm)

VIDEO: U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” (10/28/13 10:07pm)

DES MOINES REGISTER: Iowa GOP chief Spiker praises Ted Cruz, calls party dinner “smashing success” (10/28/13 10:06pm)

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Cruz to Head to South Carolina in November for Evangelical Pastors’ Event (10/28/13 9:45pm)

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Ted Cruz: What did he say in Iowa? (10/28/13 9:41pm)

TT: Report: Affordable Care Act to Raise Premiums in Texas (10/28/13 7:03pm)

TT: Smitherman Promotes “Conservative Crusade” in Ad (10/28/13 7:02pm)


BURKA BLOG: The Challenges Ahead for Wendy Davis (10/28/13 11:58pm)

DMN: Miles shouldn’t have reviewed internal investigator (10/28/13 11:58pm)

DMN: Judge right to stop part of Texas’ new abortion law (10/28/13 11:58pm)

FWST ($): This year’s election not a real test of Texas’ voter ID law (10/28/13 11:57pm)

FWST ($): Judge knew limits in Texas abortion case (10/28/13 11:57pm)

CHRON: Bum and Bud (10/28/13 11:48pm)

CHRON: Memo to Mexico (10/28/13 11:47pm)

CHRON: Neighborhood police (10/28/13 11:47pm)

CHRON: Moody gift to UT is faithful to spirit of community stewardship (10/28/13 11:46pm)

SAEN: Momentum building for downtown (10/28/13 11:14pm)

SAEN: Muñoz departure best for VIA (10/28/13 11:13pm)

AAS ($): Maybe prayer will move the immigration mountain (10/28/13 11:01pm)


MARGOLIN: What my council time tells me we need in a city manager (10/28/13 11:58pm)

MCKENZIE: JFK’s mark on religion was a surprising but substantial one (10/28/13 11:58pm)

KEILBERG ($): Carrying a gun is not against the law in Texas (10/28/13 11:57pm)

MICHAELS: Safety training is key to health of all workers (10/28/13 11:50pm)

CLAD: Gas exports bring myriad benefits (10/28/13 11:49pm)

HOYER: Does Medicaid need a co-pay? (10/28/13 11:49pm)

DARSHAN-LEITNER ($): Making sure terror doesn’t pay (10/28/13 11:40pm)

L. JOHNSON ($): Positive attitude reaps dividends (10/28/13 11:39pm)

CHASNOFF ($): Sale of South Main Avenue is a trade-off (10/28/13 11:38pm)

AYALA ($): Latino philanthropy push steps into ring (10/28/13 11:38pm)

BAY: NATO’s latest reinvention (10/28/13 11:17pm)

COVINGTON & WELLS ($): Lone Star rail a real alternative for future commuters (10/28/13 11:02pm)

PURVIS ($): A New York ‘Thanks’ that’s as big as Texas (10/28/13 11:02pm)

RAMSEY: Regulating Campaigns and Lobbying, Seen and Unseen (10/28/13 10:55pm)

STANFORD: GOP Women Love Jumping Through Hoops (10/28/13 5:36am)

BLOGS (from the left)

RAW STORY: GOP event hails ‘superhero’ Ted Cruz as right-wing Jesus (10/28/13 10:20pm)

THINK PROGRESS: Voting Rights Group: Over 1 In 10 Texas Voters Lack ID Required To Vote (10/28/13 10:09pm)

ALAN COLMES: Why Ted Cruz is fighting against government transparency (10/28/13 10:05pm)

BLOGS (from the right)

OFFICE OF GOV. PERRY: Statement on Abortion Law Ruling (10/28/13 11:58pm)

SMITHERMAN CAMPAIGN: Proven Prosecutor (10/28/13 9:47pm)

ROBERT MILLER: Election Potpourri (10/28/13 9:38pm)

Author: Must Read Texas

Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) & Jason Stanford @MustReadTexas