Federal Appeals Court Upholds Texas’ Strict Abortion Requirements

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 27 2014 9:19 PM

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Texas’ Strict Abortion Requirements

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Students from the University of Texas hold signs during a rally in favor of abortion rights November 24, 2003 in Austin, Texas.

Photo by Jana Birchum/Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld Texas’ strict abortion law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital nearby and limits the prescribing of abortion-inducing pills. With its ruling, the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals in New Orleans overturned a previous lower court decision that found the restrictions an undue burden, and therefore unconstitutional.

The stringent requirements, which were signed into law in Texas in 2013, have continued to be enforced while the court heard the case after an appeals court stepped in to block the effect of the lower court’s decision and the Supreme Court refused to intervene in September of last year. The new rules have forced some 20 abortion clinics to close in the state, according to the Associated Press.

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Here’s more from the AP:

In passing the rules, Texas lawmakers argued they were protecting the health of the woman. But abortion-rights supporters called the measures an attempt to effectively ban abortion through overregulation. Many abortion doctors do not have admitting privileges and limiting when and where they may prescribe abortion-inducing pills discourages women from choosing that option, they argued…The U.S. Supreme Court probably will have the last word on the matter. The court's four liberal justices already have indicated they are inclined to hear an appeal.

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