A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans
ruled that Texas could enforce the requirement that clinics have
certain hospital-like settings for surgeries while the court weighs
the constitutionality of the 2013 state law.
A lower court in August ruled the "ambulatory surgical center
requirement" unconstitutional, finding it placed an undue burden on
women seeking abortions. Texas officials appealed that ruling.
Abortion rights advocates, who have argued the requirement will
leave almost 1 million Texas women of reproductive age at least 150
miles (240 km) from an abortion clinic, were critical of Thursday's
"This is a devastating day for Texas women," Jennifer Dalven, an
attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a
statement. "The court's decision ignores the medical experts, who
have recognized that these laws hurt women, not help them."
Supporters of the law, who say the rules will reduce complications
and improve patient care, applauded the ruling.
"This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the
Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of
Texas women," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office, which is
defending the law, said in a statement.
Abbott, a Republican, is running for governor against Democrat Wendy
Davis, a state senator who vaulted to national prominence for
mounting an 11-hour filibuster in an unsuccessful effort to kill the
[to top of second column]
Under the newly enforceable rules, Texas clinics will have to meet a
set of building standards ranging from widening halls to having
facilities for certain surgeries that abortion rights advocates say
are unnecessary, especially when an abortion is medically induced.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas and Jim Forsyth
in San Antonio; Editing by Frank McGurty, Peter Cooney, Sandra Maler
and Ken Wills)
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