Texas Abortion Law: Restrictions Declared Unconstitutional By Federal Judge

    October 28, 2013

A federal judge has determined that some of the new Texas abortion restrictions violate the Constitution, a ruling that will keep many abortion clinics open in the Lone Star State. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed last month by Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003, ruled Monday that two parts of the abortion law were unconstitutional.

The first part he blocked was a provision that would have required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Yeakel also blocked new restrictions on abortion drugs, saying that the law failed to allow a doctor to adjust treatment for the mother. According to Yeakel, the restrictions on pregnancy-ending drugs “may not be enforced against any physician who determines, in appropriate medical judgment, to perform a medication-abortion using the off-label protocol for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

The lawsuit did not challenge two other controversial components of the new Texas abortion law. One key part was the requirement that all abortion clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers. The other component that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU didn’t challenge was a ban on nearly all abortions at 20 weeks after conception.

Texas governor Rick Perry was disappointed by the decision. Perry, who signed the legislation in July, has said that he hopes to make abortion “a thing of the past.” Perry says that he isn’t giving up the fight, though. “We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans,” Perry said.

Lieutenant governor David Dewhurst also chimed in on the ruling. “It is disturbing to know that the abortion industry is celebrating a so-called victory that actually reduces the standard of care for the women from whom they profit.” An appeal was filed earlier this afternoon.

Ken S. Lambrecht, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, was pleased with the decision. “Today’s ruling marks an important victory for Texas women and sends a clear message to lawmakers,” Lambrecht said. “It is unconstitutional for politicians to pass laws that take personal, private decisions away from women and their doctors.”

Twitter has been flooded with posts on the controversial decision today. What do you think of the restrictions on the Texas abortion law? Respond below.

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