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Federal judge strikes down part of Texas abortion law

U.S. district judge rules part of Texas' restrictive abortion law is unconstitutional.
By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   Aug. 29, 2014 at 8:02 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A federal judge struck down part of Texas' new abortion law abortion law, saying it puts an unconstitutional burden on women seeking the procedure.

The sweeping abortion legislation, called House Bill 2, was signed into effect by Gov. Rick Perry in July 2013 after protests at the state capital in Austin and a headline-making, 13-hour filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

The law mandates that only clinics that comply with the standards of ambulatory surgical centers may provide abortions, reducing the number of facilities that can provide the procedures in Texas from 41 to six. The law was scheduled to go into effect Monday.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that such a restriction puts an unconstitutional burden on women seeking an abortion.

The law is "a brutally effective system of abortion regulation that reduces access to abortion clinics, thereby creating a statewide burden for substantial numbers of Texas women," Yeakel said in his ruling.

He also exempted the McAllen and El Paso areas of the state from another provision in the law that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he intends to appeal the ruling with the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Last fall, Yeakel struck down a different provision in House Bill 2, only to have it reversed by the Fifth Circuit.

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