The judge has blocked enforcement of part of a controversial law passed in July despite the efforts of State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) and her epic 13-hour filibuster.
The bill was revived weeks after Davis’ filibuster and approved by the Texas Senate.
District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote that two of the new regulations for clinics would unreasonably restrict access to abortion clinics — including a provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Dozens of abortion clinics were planning on shutting down Tuesday if the law went into effect.
The controversial law also banned abortion after 20 weeks, but Planned Parenthood and other groups only sought to strike down the provisions that limited doctors’ ability to use abortion drugs and said doctors must have admitting privileges at hospitals to perform abortions, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The admitting-privileges provision would have forced the closure of dozens of abortion clinics, and abortion advocacy groups argued that the medical abortions provision would have deprived women of recent advances in medical science, the AP reports.
Judge Yeakel found that both the admitting-privileges provision and the so-called medication-abortion provision were unconstitutional. In a 26-page ruling, the judge ruled that medication abortion can be a “safe and medically sound” option for certain situations.
With regard to the admitting-privileges, the judge also said he had “grave reservations” about leaving a “hodge podge of diverse medical committees and boards to determine, based solely on admitting privileges, which physicians may perform abortions.”
From Judge Yeakel’s memo on the ruling:
Today there is no issue that divides the people of this country more than abortion. It is the most divisive issue to face this country since slavery. When compared with the intensity, emotion, and depth of feeling expressed with regard to abortion, the recent arguments on affordable healthcare, increasing the debt ceiling, and closing the government retreat to near oblivion. … Legislatures and courts will continue to be confounded by the issue for the foreseeable future. No ruling of this court will sway the opinion regarding abortion held by anyone.
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