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Appeals Court Upholds Provisions of Texas' Abortion Law

Planned Parenthood clinical assistant Nicki Bailey discusses the new abortion laws with a patient in Austin.
Eric Schlegel for the Texas Tribune
Planned Parenthood clinical assistant Nicki Bailey discusses the new abortion laws with a patient in Austin.

An appeals court has upheld Texas' controversial new rules tightening rules for  abortion providers.  

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on two elements of House Bill 2. One requires abortion doctors to receive admitting privileges at a hospital 30 miles from the clinic. The other requires doctors to follow an FDA label for medically-induced abortions, which requires more face-to-face visits with a physician.

The court found both constitutional, overturning a lower court decision. You can read the whole ruling here.

The appeals court found neither provision met the legal standard of presenting an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

“The people of Texas have spoken through their elected leaders and in support of protecting the culture of life in our state," Gov. Rick Perry said in a emailed statement. "Today’s court decision is good news for Texas women and the unborn, and we will continue to fight for the protection of life and women’s health in Texas.”

“This unanimous decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women,” said Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott.

The court did say the admitting privileges requirement could not be enforced against a clinic that has applied for, but not yet received a response from a hospital.

The law was passed during a special session of the Texas Legislature last summer, after being blocked in an earlier special session by a filibuster from State Senator and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis. 

The laws' opponents have argued the provisions in the law make it impossible for some clinics to continue operating and are meant to limit access to abortion services in Texas. Roughly 10 abortion clinics in Texas have closed since the law went into effect. 

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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