Activists Condemn Federal Court Decision Reinstating Texas’ Tough Abortion Restrictions

Judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans have reinstated tough new restrictions on abortions, which would mean the closure of at least a third of abortion clinics in Texas and result in 12 clinics prevented from performing abortion procedures, Fox News reported.

The decision comes only three days after federal district judge Lee Yeakel set aside part of the law that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital because it served no medical purpose.

Despite the fact that the 20-page ruling acknowledged that the regulations may increase the cost and practicality of accessing abortions, the panel cited a U.S Supreme Court decision which held that having “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate a law that serves a valid purpose, one not designed to strike at the right itself”.

The ruling comes off the back of Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbot’s emergency appeal to the conservative 5th Circuit who argued that the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges is a constitutional use of the Legislature’s authority. 

The decision has caused outrage amongst abortion rights advocates who have condemned the latest ruling as a direct threat to the health of women.

"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... We will take every step we can to protect the health of Texas women in the wake of this ruling,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said.

Such restrictions are amongst the toughest in the United States and gained national attention after Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis launched a filibuster against them in June.

The court's order is temporary until it can hold a complete hearing in January.

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