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Texas Abortion Law Battle Ends in $4.55m Battle

The United States Supreme Court ruled against Texas abortion regulations in June 2016. The regulations would close more than half of the abortion clinics in the state and were part of House Bill 2, which passed in legislative sessions in 2013.

The bill left 19 abortion clinics in the state in operation.

If the Texas law passed, ten of the nineteen clinics in the state would close. The U.S. Supreme Court found that Texas laws implemented a barrier to women seeking abortions. The law required abortions to be performed in a hospital-like setting and required the performing doctor to have admitting privileges at hospitals.

Abortion providers challenged HB 2 and the court ruled in their favor.

The legal battle resulted in abortion provider lawyers seeking $4.55 million in fees and expenses. The bill, submitted by 18 lawyers, includes 6,000 hours of work over a three-year period with charges of up to $995 per hour.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton states that the lawyers’ fees are not valid due to the law passing in 2013 to improve the standard care of women.

Paxton further argues that if the legal fees are valid, the fees should be in the $1.1 million range, and not the $4.55 million submitted. There are 362 billing pages submitted by lawyers that fought back against HB 2. Paxton requested that 3,750 billing hours be removed because they were ”vague.”

Lawyers in New York and Washington D.C. charge higher rates between $800 and $995 an hour. Paxton requests the rates be lowered to $300 – $308 an hour to align with the rates charged in the Western District of Texas.

He argues that the high-priced lawyers were not justified by the abortion clinics, and that the clinics couldn’t provide the necessity to hire out-of-state lawyers.

Paxton also states that the maximum fees should not exceed $2.987 million. A response to the objections is required by December 5.