Texas Abortion Law Blocked By Federal Judge

Texas’ abortion law was blocked by a federal judge. US District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that specific portions of the statute are unconstitutional.

Under the law, abortion providers are required to possess admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Yeakel ruled that “admitting privileges have no rational relationship” with better care. The judge said the restrictions would ultimately place an undue burden on women.

Opponents of the restrictive regulation argued the law would force the closure of thousands of abortion clinics throughout the state. Tens of thousands of women would have been affected by the closure.

Supporters argued that the laws were created to protect women and their unborn children. They said the state has an obligation to protect fetus’ from possible birth defects associated with medically induced abortion.

Governor Rick Perry signed the Texas abortion law in July. In addition to requiring admitting privileges, the law restricts abortions after 20 weeks, requires all abortion clinics to upgrade to surgical centers, and places restrictions on the use of abortion-inducing medications.

As reported by Houston Chronicle, Judge Yeakel addressed the medication restrictions in the ruling. The judge ruled that the restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs will stand. The law requires women to take the medication in the presence of a doctor. The restrictions do not include emergency contraceptives or the morning-after pill.

Attorney General Greg Abbott argues that the Texas abortion law was an effort to protect women’s health. He is expected to appeal Judge Yeakel’s decision. The appeal will be decided by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

As reported by NBC News, the judge heard three weeks of testimony before making his decision. Federal judges in Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, have blocked similar legislation.

The controversy surrounding the Texas abortion law is far from over. However, Judge Yeakel’s ruling will delay the law, which would have taken effect on Tuesday.

[Image via Flickr]

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