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U.S. judge strikes down major part of Texas abortion law

A U.S. federal judge struck down a Texas abortion regulation law today, preventing more than a dozen abortion clinics from being forced to shut down starting next Monday.

Signed by Texas governor Rick Perry in 2013, the bill requires clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards – a requirement that would have closed 19 clinics mostly in rural areas. The sweeping 2013 bill has already stopped many facilities around the state from offering abortions by requiring doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

“The act’s ambulatory-surgical center requirement places an unconstitutional undue burden on women throughout Texas and must be enjoined,” U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in the 21-page ruling.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin ruled that the law is significantly disadvantageous for rural Texas clinics where it’s financially burdensome to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Austin American-Statesman reported that it would have wiped away all the clinics south or west of San Antonio.

This widely disputed measure comes under House Bill 2, which received national attention last summer during the second special legislative session when Democratic state senator Wendy Davis stood on the senate floor for 11 hours in an attempt to filibuster.

Judge Yeakel’s decision will be appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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