WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ordered Texas on Tuesday not to implement its anti-abortion law -- which effectively forced all but eight of the state's abortion clinics to close down -- while the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the law's constitutionality.
The order stayed the 5th Circuit's October 9 ruling, which allowed Texas to enforce the law during the appeals process.
The law requires abortion clinics to employ doctors who have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. It also mandates that clinics meet the standards of "ambulatory surgical centers."
Supporters say the restrictions are intended to protect patient health. Abortion-rights advocates argue that the requirements are unnecessary and too costly for most state clinics to stay open.
"The U.S. Supreme Court gave Texas women a tremendous victory today," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. "Tomorrow, 13 clinics across the state will be allowed to reopen and provide women with safe and legal abortion care in their own communities."
Melissa Conway, a rep for Texas Right to Life, told The Houston Chronicle that the group "recognizes the magnitude of today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court as a temporary path of access to big business abortion services."
"While we find it unfortunate that the women of Texas remain unprotected against predatory and subpar abortion mills, HB2 is still slated to be heard on merits by the 5th Circuit," she added. The court's five-sentence order provided no context to the judges' 6-3 ruling. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito opposed.