A federal appeals court ruled unanimously that Texas can require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
In its decision Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit panel also upheld a provision that drugs used to induce abortions must be prescribed according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocols. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel had found parts of the law unconstitutional.
In its opinion, the appeals court said evidence presented by Planned Parenthood
showed that even with the new limits on providers, 90 percent of Texas women who sought abortions would be able to obtain one at a clinic within 100 miles of their homes.
"If the admitting-privileges regulation burdens abortion access, ... the burden does not fall on the vast majority of Texas women seeking abortions," the judges said.
The decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The abortion law passed last year made a national figure of state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat who staged a filibuster that delayed its passage. Davis is now running for governor against Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican and staunch supporter of the law.
"This unanimous decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women," Abbott said of the ruling.
Davis said Abbott "wants to force his personal political agenda on Texas women."
Backers of new restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs in Texas and other states say they are designed to protect women. Opponents charge the law bans doctors and clinics from using better dosage levels and procedures developed since the FDA approved the drugs.