Judge Finds Texas Abortion Rules Unconstitutional

AUSTIN (October 28, 2013) State officials are expected to appeal a federal judge’s ruling Monday that new abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year are unconstitutional and should not take effect as scheduled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued the ruling Monday after a three-day hearing last week over whether the state can restrict when, where and how women obtain abortions in Texas.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers argued that the regulations did not protect women and would shut down a third of the abortion clinics in Texas.

The Texas attorney general's office argued that the law protects women and the life of the fetus.

State officials are expected to file an emergency appeal of Yeakel's order to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The proposed restrictions were among the toughest in the nation.

If the law does go into effect as proposed, abortion clinics in Waco, Killeen, Fort Worth, Harlingen, Lubbock and McAllen will have to close Tuesday, which means no clinics will be operating east of Waco or west of Interstate 35.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a brief statement in response to the ruling in which he said, “Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently. We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans.”


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