A federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated restrictions on abortion providers in Texas, siding with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott who had asked for an emergency ruling while a lower court ruling was being appealed.
The decision means that during the appeal doctors who perform abortions in Texas will have to get agreements with local hospitals to admit patients under a sweeping new anti-abortion law, according to court documents.
A federal district judge had ruled on Monday, a day before the law was due to go into effect, that a section of the measure pertaining to admitting privileges was unconstitutional after supporters said it would force clinics to close.
Supporters of the right to abortion have warned that the measure could force up to one third of the state's clinics to close immediately, cutting off access for some 22,000 women, because those clinics have not been able to gain admitting privileges for their physicians since the law passed.
The law, which passed in July, was the most fiercely debated proposal to restrict abortions in the United States this year. Republican efforts to pass the law sparked an unsuccessful filibuster by Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis, which propelled her into the national spotlight and encouraged her to announce she will run for governor.
The ruling on Monday by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel had come in response to a lawsuit by abortion-rights supporters including the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and Texas clinics. Yeakel agreed that the new restriction would make it harder for women seeking a legal abortion.