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Supreme Court Refuses To Block Texas Abortion Restrictions

Critics say the state's abortion law provisions led to the closing of one-third of clinics.

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In a five-to-four decision, the Supreme Court refused to block a Texas abortion law that Planned Parenthood said has led to the closing of one-third of Texas abortion providers.

The opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said the challengers had not met the requirement for setting aside a federal order permitting the law to take effect.


Opponents said the law disproportionately affects clinics in rural areas.

Darrell Byers / Reuters

The law requires any doctor in the state who is going to perform an abortion to have professional privileges to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of the site where the abortion will take place.

District Judge Lee Yeakel argued that component would put an unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions.

David Kent/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / MCT

But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Yeakel saying “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate [a law].”

“We are not giving up on Texas women,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

“If the constitutional right to abortion means anything, it must mean that laws like this one that prevent women from obtaining an abortion must be invalidated. This is a very disappointing decision, but we will continue to do everything we can to protect the health and rights of Texas women.”

The law, which was thrust into the public consciousness by crusading state Sen. Wendy Davis this summer, was signed into law by Governor Ricky Perry.

Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at

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