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Published On: Fri, Oct 3rd, 2014

Federal appeals court: Texas can enforce tough new abortion restrictions

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday to allow Texas to immediately begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that were passed in the 2013 abortion law and would effectively close all but seven abortion facilities in America’s second most-populous state.

A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans stayed a lower judge’s ruling while it considers the overall constitutionality of key portions of Texas’ sweeping 2013 abortion law, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry and other conservatives say is designed to protect women’s health.

Texas made headlines with their abortion bill. Here a pro-abortion supporter mocks Christians singing 'Amazing Grace' in the Texas State Capitol building as her colleagues chant 'Hail Satan'. screenshot acahnman.blogspot.com

Texas made headlines with their abortion bill. Here a pro-abortion supporter mocks Christians singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the Texas State Capitol building as her colleagues chant ‘Hail Satan’.
screenshot acahnman.blogspot.com

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled in August that part of the law requiring Texas clinics to spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades was less about safety than making access to abortion difficult.

Yeakel’s ruling in Austin suspended the upgrades requirement. The state of Texas is appealing, and asked the appeals court to let it enforce the law during that process – clearing the way for the panel’s ruling.

Allowing to go forward the rules on hospital-level upgrades, including mandatory operating rooms and air filtration systems, would cause more than a dozen clinics across Texas to close. Only abortion facilities in the Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas would be open.

None will be left along the Texas-Mexico border or outside any of the state’s largest urban areas.

Some clinics have already closed after another part of the 2013 law required doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. That portion of the law has already been upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit, where the state is now seeking a second outright reversal.

The trial in Texas is the latest battle over tough new abortion restrictions sweeping across the U.S. The office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican who is the favorite to become governor in November, is leading the defense of the law.

Clinics call the measure a backdoor effort to outlaw abortions, which has been a constitutional right since the Roe v. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.

Attorneys for the state have denied that women would be burdened by fewer abortion facilities, saying nearly 9 in 10 Texas women would still live within 150 miles of a provider. The law’s opponents, however, note that still leaves nearly a million Texas women embarking on drives longer than three hours to get an abortion.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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