Key Part of Texas Abortion Law Struck Down by Judge

08/31/2014 21:03

A federal judge Aug. 29, 2014, threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed the Hilltop Women's Reproductive clinic in El Paso and more than a dozen other clinics. (Juan Carlos LLorca, AP)

A federal judge Friday struck down a major provision of Texas’s strict abortion law that would have forced all but a handful of clinics to close next week.

The law, passed last year by the Republican legislature, required abortion facilities to meet hospital-level building standards. But U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled the requirements violated a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.

“The ambulatory-surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a previabilty abortion,” Yeakel wrote in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of abortion providers.

He blocked the provisions from taking effect Monday. The law regulated the sizes of rooms and doorways, and required pipelines for anesthesia.

The Texas Tribune noted that six abortion clinics, all in big cities, meet the requirements.

Currently, there are 19 clinics in Texas, down from 40 before bill became law.

“This trial and today’s decision have stripped away the pretexts of the politicians who passed this law and revealed their true intention to deny Texas women access to safe, legal abortion care,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“The court has made clear that women’s well-being is not advanced by laws attacking access to essential health care, and that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution may not be denied through laws that make them impossible to exercise.” UBC

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