Federal Appeals Court Reinstated Restrictive Provision

The state of Texas and abortion.

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Well, that joy was short-lived. On Monday, we cheered when a judge struck down a key part of Texas's restrictive abortion law, but yesterday a federal appeals court reinstated the restrictive provision that could force 13 of the state's 36 clinics to stop performing the procedures.

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The part of the law in question is a requirement that doctors obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they're providing abortion services. Abortion clinics have said the requirement serves no medical purpose and would force many to close their doors. Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court in Austin struck down the requirement earlier this week, saying it was without rational basis and "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."

Texas's Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an emergency appeal to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing the Legislature has the constitutional right to require doctors to have admitting privileges. The conservative court sided with Abbott and reinstated the requirement, meaning the law will take effect as is while a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood on behalf of more than a dozen women's health care providers in Texas works its way through the courts. (The lawsuit alleges the law violates the constitutional rights of women and places unreasonable demands on doctors who perform abortions.)

Thanks to the most recent ruling, according to The New Republic abortion access in Texas just dropped by a third. Pissed off? Here's how you can help: Donate money to the Texas Equal Access Fund and/or the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality both of which help women in Texas pay for abortions. Or donate to Planned Parenthood, which has vowed to fight on. "This fight is far from over," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in response to the appeals court ruling. "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."

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