Judge Blocks Parts of Texas Abortion Law

There is plenty of reaction to Monday's ruling by a federal judge striking down key parts of Texas' new abortion law.

Filed in U.S. District Court in September, Planned Parenthood v. Abbott specifically challenges two key provisions of House Bill 2.

"This particular judge is known for, I guess, having a pro-choice bent," said Waco's Care Net CEO Deborah McGregor. "So, I wasn't surprised"

McGregor is referring to U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel.

On Monday, Yeakel ruled portions of HB 2 unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood of Waco Executive Director Natalie Kelinske calls the ruling a clear win for Texas women.

"This ruling prevents the admitting privileges restriction which would have required doctors to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of the health center that provides safe, legal abortion," said Kelinske.

Yeakel also blocked a portion of the law that deals with abortion-induced medications. Provisions requiring strict use under FDA protocol and mandatory visits remain in place.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, where Texas abortion related laws have recently prevailed.

"The fifth circuit historically tends to be more pro-life," McGregor said.

The court's most recent ruling pertaining to Texas abortion laws came in January of 2012, when the court ruled that Texas can require a pre-abortion sonogram in hopes that the information it provides would dissuade some women from getting abortions.

The ruling overturned an injunction from U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin, who found that the law violated the First Amendment by improperly requiring doctors and patients to engage in government-mandated speech.

One provision of the law, a ban on abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization, was not challenged and took effect Tuesday.

Another provision of HB 2 requires abortion clinics to meet the same requirements as ambulatory surgical centers.

It does not take effect until September 2014 and is expected to also be challenged in court.


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