Federal Court Reinstates Key Part of Texas Abortion Law


(CNN) — A federal appeals court Thursday reinstated a key part of a new Texas abortion law, considered to be among the most restrictive in the country.

The decision came three days after a federal judge struck down the provision, which requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they’re providing abortion services.

A day before parts of the law were scheduled to take effect, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Monday issued an injunction blocking the law’s admitting privileges requirement, arguing that it “places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her.”

Thursday’s decision means the requirement will remain in place while a lawsuit moves forward.

The lawsuit — filed in U.S. District Court in Austin by Planned Parenthood on behalf of more than a dozen women’s health care providers across Texas — alleged the state’s new abortion law violates the constitutional rights of women and puts unreasonable demands on doctors who perform abortions.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges is expected to cause at least one-third of the state’s licensed health centers that provide abortion services to stop.

“While we acknowledge that Planned Parenthood has also made a strong showing that their interests would be harmed by staying the injunction, given the State’s likely success on the merits, this is not enough, standing alone, to outweigh the other factors,” read a part of Thursday’s 20-page ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The bill originally failed to gain approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis. Gov. Rick Perry then called the Legislature into a second special session to continue consideration of the bill.

“This fight is far from over. This restriction clearly violates Texas women’s constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

“If Texans showed America one thing during the historic protests against this law this summer, we demonstrated that Texans value women’s health — and that is why we will take every step we can to protect the health of Texas women in the wake of this ruling,” she said.

Perry cheered the ruling.

“Today’s decision affirms our right to protect both the unborn and the health of the women of Texas. We will continue doing everything we can to protect a culture of life in our state,” he said in a statement.

CNN’s Cristy Lenz contributed to this report.

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