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Ruling expected on Texas abortion law day before it would take effect

October 28, 2013|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
  • Factions for and against a new abortion law in Texas that would take effect Tuesday have taken to the streets to espouse their views. A judge ruled on the new law Monday.
Factions for and against a new abortion law in Texas that would take effect… (Larry W. Smith / EPA )

A federal judge is expected to rule Monday on the constitutionality of a controversial Texas abortion law set to take effect Tuesday.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel heard three days of testimony and oral arguments in Austin about the law, which opponents sued to block after its passage this past summer. The law would limit medication-induced abortions and require doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals to perform abortions, and would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Yeakel has said he would rule on the law before it’s scheduled to be implemented.

The law passed after a daylong filibuster by Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and massive rallies for and protests against it that drew national attention. Davis has since declared that she is running for governor.

Officials from Planned Parenthood and other groups have said they want to block the law because the admitting privileges provision and new rules on medical abortions limit access to abortions.

“Any one of these restrictions would have a devastating impact across the state of Texas,” said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Together they would be catastrophic, making essential reproductive healthcare services for many Texans, especially poor and rural women, practically impossible to access.”

Supporters of the law have contended that they too are trying to protect women.

“These extremists are desperate to keep playing fast and loose with women's health, resisting all increased health and safety standards” provided under the pending law, said a statement from Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. She added that her group “has full confidence in our pro-life Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, who has already announced his determination and commitment to defend this landmark law.”

Abbott, a Republican, is also running for governor.


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