Posted 4 months ago on Oct. 28, 2013, 5:37 p.m. EST by bensdad
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Judge Blocks Part of Texas Abortion Law Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press
Proponents of both sides of the abortion issue gathered in the Texas State Capitol in July as the Republican-led legislature passed a restrictive new abortion law. A federal judge on Monday blocked an important part of that legislation. By ERIK ECKHOLM Published: October 28, 2013 32 Comments
A federal judge in Texas on Monday blocked an important part of the state’s restrictive new abortion law, which would have required doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Related
Abortion Restrictions Become Law in Texas, but Opponents Will Press Fight (July 19, 2013) Texas Senate Approves Strict Abortion Measure (July 14, 2013)
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The decision, one day before the provision was to take effect, prevented a major disruption of the abortion clinics in Texas. It was a victory for abortion rights groups and clinics that said the measure served no medical purpose and could force as many as one-third of the state’s 36 abortion clinics to close.
But the court upheld a second measure, requiring doctors to use a particular drug protocol in nonsurgical, medication-induced abortions that doctors called outdated and too restrictive.
In a decision that is widely expected to be appealed to higher courts, Judge Lee Yeakel of United States District Court in Austin declared that “the act’s admitting-privileges provision is without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”
The ruling was hailed by the chief executive of Whole Women’s Health, a private group that had warned that it could be forced to close its clinics in McAllen, Fort Worth and San Antonio because they use visiting doctors who could not obtain admitting privileges locally. “We are very relieved,” said the official, Amy Hagstrom Miller.
In bringing the suit against two parts of a sweeping anti-abortion law adopted in July, abortion rights groups said that these provisions would have “dramatic and draconian” effects on women’s access to the procedure. But lawyers for the state argued that the predictions were exaggerated and that the measures served the state’s interest in “protecting fetal life.”