Nine abortion clinics in Texas were permitted Monday to stay open while the Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal from a lower court decision that demanded their immediate closure. In a 5-4 vote, the justices granted an emergency appeal from the clinics after a federal appeals court upheld the immediate enactment of new restrictions. If the court decides to hear the full appeal, it could be the biggest abortion case the Supreme Court has seen in nearly 25 years, the Associated Press reported.
Just 19 abortion clinics remain open in Texas. If the new provisions on abortion providers take effect, the number of clinics will be cut in half yet again, abortion rights activists said. Other parts of this state law took effect in 2013, forcing about half of Texas’ 41 abortion clinics to close, the New York Times reported.
“This would amount to a more than 75 percent reduction in Texas abortion facilities in just a two-year period, creating a severe shortage of safe and legal abortion services in a state that is home to more than five million reproductive-age women,” attorneys for abortion providers told the Supreme Court justices in an emergency application for a stay.
The Supreme Court’s decision to block the regulations strongly suggests the justices will choose to hear the full appeal. The hearing and eventual court ruling would come amid the 2016 presidential campaign, according to AP.