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Abortion Restriction Law Is Backed By Federal Court In Texas

A federal appeals court has upheld sweeping abortion restrictions in Texas, in the latest swing in a back-and-forth battle in the state. The court has backed key parts of a controversial 2013 law that critics say would put some clinics at risk of closing.

The ruling by the 5th Circuit Appeals Court could prompt the plaintiffs — several women's health clinics, a doctor, and their patients — to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports:

"The appeals court says most of a 2013 Texas law can now take effect. It requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of a clinic. And it requires such clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center.

"Abortion rights groups had argued neither measure was necessary to safeguard women's health. The decision is different from what the court ruled in a similar case in Mississippi, which said women should be able to get an abortion in the state where they live.

"The Texas ruling says it's clear some women choose to cross into New Mexico for abortions anyway. The ruling does exempt one clinic along the Mexican border, allowing it to stay open."

The appeals court delivered a 56-page ruling, saying: "the district court's judgment is AFFIRMED in part, MODIFIED in part, VACATED in part, and REVERSED in part."