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Federal Appeals Court Rejects Challenge To Texas Abortion Restrictions

A reversal of Planned Parenthood's challenge to the restrictions passed last year.

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Mike Stone / Reuters

Protestors rally in the rotunda of the State Capitol as the state Senate meets to consider legislation restricting abortion rights in Austin, Texas July 12, 2013.

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court rejected Planned Parenthood's challenge to Texas' restrictive abortion law passed last summer, save for one small exception.

Thursday's unanimous decision of a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision from October finding two provisions in the law unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood challenged two provisions: One required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges "at a hospital no more than thirty miles from the location where the abortion is provided." The second provision limited medication abortions by requiring that, with few exceptions, abortion-inducing drugs only be used when they "comply with the protocol authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."

In October, the trial court struck down the admitting privileges provision and found that the medication abortion provision could not be used to prevent such abortions when necessary for "the life or health of the mother."

Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones, however, reversed that decision Thursday, writing on behalf of her and Judges Jennifer Elrod and Catharina Haynes, "We conclude that both of the challenged provisions are constitutional and therefore reverse and render judgment, with one exception, for the State."

Read the 5th Circuit's opinion:

Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.

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