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Lawsuit Against Texas Abortion Law Gets Trial Date in Federal Court

Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Planned Parenthood – together with several other groups -- filed a lawsuit, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, in a federal court in Austin on Sept. 27. The aim is to block certain provisions of a new Texas law that restricts abortions.   

The preliminary injunction hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 21 before U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin. 

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include more than a dozen health care providers across Texas, and the groups that filed the lawsuit on their behalf include the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.

They’re asking the federal court in Austin to block two provisions: One requires physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform the abortion.

"The admitting privileges restriction will force at least a third of the state’s licensed centers that provide abortions to stop providing that service next month, thereby dramatically reducing abortion access throughout the state if allowed to take effect," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said.

Joe Pojman is executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. He disagrees with Northup and says House Bill 2 is a common sense law.

"If there’s a preliminary injunction that’s forced such that the law can not be put into practice, then women in large numbers will continue to be exposed to undue risk when they undergo abortion in Texas," Pojman said. 

The lawsuit also aims to block another provision  that requires doctors to distribute the abortion-inducing medicine to the patient in person. These provisions go into effect on Oct. 29, as does the 20-week ban on abortion. The requirement that clinics adopt ambulatory surgical center standards goes into effect in September 2014.

Similar admitting privileges have been blocked in Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wisconsin. 

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