A federal appeals court ruling Thursday reinstated a key provision of Texas' controversial new restrictions on abortion, which will shut downdown a third of the state's abortion clinics that do not have doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals, The Associated Press reported.
The panel of 12 judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reinstated the provision that requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.
A district court ruled Monday that the provision is unconstitutional, saying it had no medical basis and placed an undue burden on women. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an emergency appeal Tuesday to the appellete court following District Judge Lee Yeakel's ruling, arguing that the legislature was within contitutional grounds to require hospital-admitting privileges for abortion doctors.
The appellate court reversed Yeakel's ruling, stating hospital-admitting privileges ensure patient safety by keeping credentialing of doctors performing abortions current. The court upheld part of Yeakel's ruling that prohibits the state from enforcing a Food and Drug Administration protocol for abortion-inducing drugs for women who are 50 to 63 days into their pregnancy.
"This fight is far from over," Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said in a statement. "This restriction clearly violates Texas women's constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide."
Gov. Rick Perry praised the court's decision in a statement, deeming the ruling an affirmation "to protect both the unborn and health of the women of Texas."
The restrictions, which also include bans on abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and a requirement that all abortions be performed in surgical facilities, gained national attention after Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 11-hour filibuster in protest over the summer.
The court's order will last until it can hold a complete hearing on the legislation in January.