Texas Abortion Law Has Key Restrictions Reinstated

Key restrictions in the Texas abortion law were reinstated by a federal appeals court on Thursday after a lower court ruled against the restrictions earlier this week.

The decision was the result of a request by Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who asked the court for an emergency ruling while the state appeals the lower court’s ruling.

With the key restrictions back in place, Reuters reports that any doctor who performs an abortion in Texas will have to get agreements with local hospitals to admit their patient.

A federal district judge ruled Monday that a section of the law about admitting privileges was unconstitutional. Supporters of the right to abortion contended that the measure could cause up to one-third of the state’s abortion clinics to close immediately, cutting off access for about 22,000 women.

The law was first passed during special session in July after an unsuccessful filibuster attempt by Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis. CBS News notes that Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was disappointed by the appeals court’s decision to reinstate the abortion law’s key restrictions.


Ferrero commented, “What the Texas Legislature did was reckless and dangerous and what this federal appeals court did tonight is deeply troubling and also dangerous for women.” In its 20-page ruling, the panel acknowledged that the provision “may cause the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions.”

Despite this, the panel cited the US Supreme Court, which has held that a law that makes it more difficult or expensive to have an abortion isn’t enough to invalidate a law that serves a purpose, as long as it isn’t “designed to strike at the right itself.” Abbott, who is running for governor, likely against Davis, was pleased with the panel’s decision, calling it “a vindication of careful deliberation” on the Legislature’s behalf.

The court’s order to reinstate the Texas abortion law’s key restrictions is in place until it can hold a complete hearing. That will likely take place in January.