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U.S. Appeals Court to Hear Texas Abortion Law Case

photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

State officials and plaintiffs suing on behalf of Texas abortion providers are due back in court this morning.

The case being heard this morning was launched by abortion rights advocates hoping to overturn a state statute - known as HB2 - that regulates abortions. It was passed by the Texas Legislature in July and has since been tied up in a legal battle that has been appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The plaintiffs, which include Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, are arguing the requirements placed on abortion clinics by the law would force roughly a dozen clinics across the state to close their doors and thereby restrict access to abortions for many Texas women.

Pending today's hearing, the court temporarily overturned a decision by a federal judge in Austin who struck down a key provision of the law that required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. That ruling also partially blocked another provision that regulates drug-induced abortions.

This morning, a three-judge panel will hear 30-minute oral arguments from both sides. A decision is not expected today, but whatever the eventual outcome, either side can appeal the outcome to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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