Texas law restricting abortion remains in place for now | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Texas law restricting abortion remains in place for now

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 7:50 AM

A divided U.S. Supreme Court yesterday allowed Texas to continue enforcing laws restricting abortion. The case is still on appeal at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and will likely end up back at the Supreme Court once a ruling has been made there. The New York Times reports

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away an emergency application asking it to block a Texas law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The decision was effectively 5 to 4 and split along ideological lines.

The effect of the ruling, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the four dissenters, was to leave 24 counties in the Rio Grande Valley without abortion clinics. “It may,” he added, “substantially reduce access to safe abortions elsewhere in Texas.”

The law had previously been blocked, in October, by a federal district court in Texas shortly before it was to go into effect. However, just three days later, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, allowing the law to go into effect while the case is argued. 

As in Arkansas, Texas also passed a ban on abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, but that has so far gone unchallenged. An eventual challenge of 20-week provisions is likely, though there are strategic concerns for pro-choice groups. The 2013 Arkansas legislature also passed a 12-week abortion ban, which a federal court has enjoined.

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