Judge Strikes Down Part Of New Texas Abortion Law

A federal judge has blocked part of a new Texas law governing abortion providers. The law passed this summer after state Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster.

The federal judge blocked one part of the law, but left another in place.

The blocked provision required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs argued that many factors, such as the vast distance between towns in some parts of Texas, made this impractical.

Alejandra Diaz is with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston.

“The admitting privileges restriction was going to force at least one third of the state- licensed health centers that provide abortion services to immediately stop providing abortion next month. So you can see how that is very good for women that this restriction was blocked.”

The judge let stand another part of the law that spells out how doctors can administer an abortion using pills.

The law says these so-called medication abortions must follow a certain protocol that requires the patient to make follow-up visits at the clinic with a doctor.

When combined with an earlier Texas law requiring pre-abortion ultrasounds, the overall effect means women using the abortion pills will have to make four separate visits to the clinic.

Currently, they just have to make two visits.  

“Right now, it’s just a safe, private and less invasive method of ending a pregnancy.”

Diaz says many women might decide to do a surgical abortion instead, because that takes only two visits.

Other parts of the law still remain in effect and were not part of this ruling, such as a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks.

Governor Rick Perry said in a statement that he will continue fighting to protect life and implement the laws that “reflect the will and values of Texans.”

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...