Those opposed to the law have said it amounts to a veiled attempt
to limit abortions by imposing costly and unnecessary regulations,
adding that the law may be copied by other states trying to limit
abortions within their borders.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit found on Thursday that a federal judge erred last year in
blocking the law. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to go into
effect but had sent parts of the case back to the appeals court for
"The district court's opinion took the wrong approach to the
rational basis test," the 5th Circuit's decision said.
The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting
privileges, the ability to admit a patient for treatment at a
hospital usually by being recognized as a doctor who can use
hospital facilities, at an adequately equipped hospital within 30
miles of their practice.
Backers said the requirement protects the health of mothers while
opponents argue it places an undue burden on women in rural parts of
the state where medical facilities are sparse.
"Requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges would
also promote the continuity of care in all cases, reducing the risk
of injury caused by miscommunication and misdiagnosis when a patient
is transferred from one health care provider to another," the court
But Planned Parenthood, which brought the suit, said abortion
complications are rare and usually similar to those of a
miscarriage, which often are treated by emergency room physicians.
"This is a terrible court ruling that will severely limit a woman's
access to safe and legal abortion in Texas," said Planned
Parenthood's Cecile Richards.
CLINICS HAVE CLOSED
Since the new law went into effect about five months ago, about a
third of the abortion providers in Texas have closed, mostly because
of the admitting privileges provision, leaving 19 clinics in a state
with 26 million people.
A new set of restrictions under the law are to take effect on Sept
1. that will impose surgical center standards for abortion clinics,
even those that perform nonsurgical medication abortions.
[to top of second column]
Only about six abortion clinics would likely be able to meet all of
the new requirements, Planned Parenthood said.
supporters said this requirement was designed to shut clinics by
requiring them to pay for renovations and equipment they cannot
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican with presidential
aspirations, hailed the decision as a victory for "the culture of
"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," he said in a statement.
Texas, seen as an incubator of conservative policies, has garnered a
great deal of attention because its regulations have stood up to
Two neighboring states — Oklahoma and Louisiana — are proposing
similar admitting privileges restrictions, with the Oklahoma House
of Representatives approving the measure by a wide margin last
The court did allow abortion providers who have applied for
admitting privileges within the state's designated time frame but
have yet to receive a decision from hospitals to continue their
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Eric Walsh and Cynthia Osterman)
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