Supreme Court Refuses to Block New Texas Abortion Restrictions

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 19 2013 7:36 PM

Supreme Court Refuses to Block New Texas Abortion Restrictions

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Opponents of the bill hold up two fingers against the anti-abortion bill, which was up for a vote on the last day of the legislative special session in Austin, Texas.

Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block controversial abortion restrictions that are part of a new Texas law. The court voted 5–4 to allow the state to continue to enforce the abortion provision “requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital,” the Associated Press reports.

The Texas law has been hotly contested in the courts since its enactment. Last month, a day before the law was set to go into effect, a federal judge ruled that requiring doctors to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion clinic placed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure and was therefore unconstitutional. Days later, however, a federal appeals court undid the decision, permitting Texas to enforce the provision.

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Opponents of the limitation, the AP reports, say the restriction has caused more than a third of clinics in Texas to stop providing the procedure. The Supreme Court decision split down ideological lines, with the five conservative justices in support of leaving in tact the earlier 5th Circuit Appeals Court decision permitting the law’s enforcement. The legal challenges to the law, however, are set to continue as the 5th Circuit Appeals Court, has not "ruled on the merits of the challenge" and "is due to hear oral arguments early next year,” Reuters reports.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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