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Federal Court Hears Abortion Law Arguments in Lengthy Appeals Process

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photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri
A panel of federal judges are considering arguments related to provisions in Texas’ newest abortion law that were struck down late last month.";

A panel of federal judges are considering arguments related to provisions in Texas’ newest abortion law that were struck down late last month. It's one step in a long process of appeals.

The State of Texas is asking the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant an emergency motion to enforce the state’s abortion law.

"We argue in the hearing that a stay would be inappropriate because it would immediately close almost all clinics in Texas, leaving no more than seven or eight in major metropolitan areas," says Esha Bhandari, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is arguing the case on behalf of abortion providers. "That would have a devastating impact on women and their health care in Texas."

Late last month, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the requirement that abortion clinics upgrade their facilities to meet ambulatory surgical centers by Sept. 1. He found that the requirement imposed an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. Supporters of the law have argued that the provision would ensure high standards of care for women seeking the procedure.

Judge Yeakel also ruled that doctors in McAllen and El Paso don’t have to receive admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The appeals court can decide on the emergency stay at any time – possibly this weekend.

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