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News Posted on January 22, 2015

Professor Pruitt Publishes Op-ed on Texas Abortion Case

Professor Lisa R. Pruitt published a January 7 op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman about a case argued that day before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The case, Whole Women's Health v. Lakey, tests the constitutionality of a Texas law that would impose ambulatory surgical center regulations on abortion providers.  The plaintiffs have challenged the law, which will cause closure of a number of abortion providers, on the grounds that it creates an undue burden on a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy. 

"The judges will essentially decide if women living outside the state's major metropolitan areas, and who therefore must travel considerable distances to reach the few abortion providers able to comply, are constitutionally relevant" in the context of a facial challenge, writes Pruitt.

"If the 5th Circuit in this case holds that women do not face an undue burden when they must travel 250 to 300 miles one way to exercise their constitutional right, the court will reinforce the sense it is grossly out of touch with the realities of Texas's poor and rural populations," Pruitt asserts.

Lisa R. Pruitt is a professor at UC Davis School of Law whose recent scholarship explores the legal relevance of rural spatiality, including how it inflects dimensions of gender, race, and ethnicity.  Pruitt's work also considers rural-urban difference in transnational and international contexts.

Austin American-Statesman