US Supreme Court blocks harsh Texas abortion law

US Supreme Court blocks harsh Texas abortion law
In a surprise intervention, the US Supreme Court has blocked a Texas abortion law that would have left just eight family planning clinics open in the state, rejecting a previous ruling that shut down most facilities overnight.

Specifically, the Supreme Court suspended on Tuesday a federal appeals court ruling that allowed Texas to enforce a law that required abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities to the same standards mandated for ambulatory surgery centers, according to the Associated Press.

In its five-line ruling, the court allowed the clinics to stay open while the case goes through the appeals process, adding: “The Court of Appeals’ stay order with reference to the district court’s order enjoying the ambulatory surgical center requirement is vacated. The application is denied in all other respects.”

Read More:Court shuts down most Texas abortion clinics overnight

The Supreme Court’s ruling in “Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Lakey” was in response to an emergency petition filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, asking the court to take immediate action to put the Texas law on hold.

On October 2, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in favor of the law that would require all abortion clinics in Texas to meet the same standards as surgical centers, including regulations concerning buildings, equipment, and staffing.

The Texas attorney general argued the law was needed to protect women’s health. Abortion providers, however, said the regulations were too costly and unnecessary, and were designed to put them out of business.

“What we saw last Thursday with the decision by the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is unprecedented,” said Nancy Northup, executive director for the Center for Reproductive Rights, on the group’s website. “We have never seen the effect of a law like you see in Texas where you lose 80 percent of the clinics in a state.”

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The Texas law was enacted last year by the state’s Republican-led legislature. Before the legislation was passed, there were 41 medical practices licensed to provide abortions in the state. The law was passed after a marathon filibuster by Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, which put her under the national spotlight. Davis is now running for governor in next month’s election.

In August, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled that the regulations imposed an unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions.

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