On Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that many of Texas’s abortion restrictions previously blocked by a federal judge can take effect immediately.
On Monday, Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals was unconstitutional. The judge also blocked a portion of the law requiring doctors to administer abortion medications according to the FDA label instructions. The ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy was not challenged and was left in place.
However, after Yeakel’s decision, Texas attorney general Greg Abbot swiftly appealed the decision to the federal Fifth Circuit Court. The Fifth Circuit overturned part of Yeakel’s decision, declaring that while requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals would affect women seeking abortions, “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate” a law that is “not designed to strike at the right itself,” according to the 20-page ruling. Yeakel’s decision on FDA labels still stands.
Following the decision, at least twelve abortion clinics in Texas will close on Friday because the providers do not have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
Abortion providers have vowed to appeal. “This fight is far from over,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in the statement. “This restriction clearly violates Texas women’s constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide.”
A complete hearing will likely take place in January.