A federal judge has struck down key provisions of a new Texas law restricting access to abortions as unconstitutional, blocking the law from going into effect as intended on Tuesday.
According to NBC, District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Monday that the bill’s provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic was unconstitutional and infringed on a woman’s right to an abortion.
Lawyers representing Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups brought the case Texas, arguing that the restrictions would cause at least a third of Texas’ abortion clinics to close. They also argued that another of the law’s provisions requiring physicians to follow the FDA’s original label for abortion-inducing drugs would deprive women of recent advances in medical science.
On the other side, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot argued that the law protects the life of the fetus and does not infringe on women’s rights. Abbot is widely expected to file an emergency appeal of Yeakel’s decision in the 5th Circuit Court of New Orleans.
The restrictions have already proven extremely controversial in Texas, leading Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis to stage a 13-hour filibuster against the law in July. Davis’ filibuster required Gov. Rick Perry to schedule a special second legislative meeting in order for the Republican-dominated Legislature to pass the law.
Davis is now running for governor, and will likely face Republican competition from Abbot, as Perry plans to retire after his term.