Appeals Court Allows TX Abortion Restrictions to Take Effect While Legal Challenge Proceeds

October 31, 2013 9:44 pm

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October 31, 2013


AUSTIN - A federal appeals court ruled today that part of a Texas anti-abortion law that was struck down Monday by a district court will be allowed to take effect while legal challenges proceed. The provisions will cause at least one-third of the state's licensed health centers that currently provide abortion to stop offering the service immediately.

The law was initially challenged by more than a dozen women's health care providers represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the law firm of George Brothers Kincaid & Horton. The district court ruled Monday that a provision that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital is not rationally related to ensuring patient safety, and that the requirement would place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking abortion. Following the state's emergency request, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the provisions can take effect while the case moves forward.

"We will continue to fight to preserve access to abortion services in Texas," said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "This law is unconscionable. As the district court found, it does not further patient safety, and it will shut down many clinics across the state."

"The result of this ruling is not academic," said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. "Women in many parts of the state will lose access to care they count on because clinics will close. If the State of Texas cares about women's health and safety, as it claims, it should take steps to reduce the need for abortion rather than closing clinics in already underserved parts of the state."

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