Stating that the new abortion restrictions passed by the Texas legislature violated the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients, and restricts women's access to clinics, District Court Judge Lee Yeakel determined that the new law that was to take effect on Tuesday were unconstitutional.
The arguement that the new Texas law required doctors have admitting priviledges at a hospital within 30 miles of the doctor’s clinic would close as much as thirty percent of the abortion clinics in the state was brought by lawyers for abortion providers and Planned Parenthood and was agreed with by Judge Yeakel.
The Texas legislature passed the new abortion restrictions during their second attempt this year after the first attempt was thwarted by Democratic Representative Wendy Davis when she set out on a 13-hour filibuster in June. Governor Rick Perry immediately called another session to address the legislation.
Davis since that time has begun plans to run for the Texas governorship in Texas’s next election cycle on the women’s rights platform.
According to the now defunct law, abortions would have to take place in an ambulatory surgical center, this new restriction would have eliminated all but five of the 42 clinics in the state of Texas. That portion of the legislation wasn’t challenged by the plaintiffs in the case and does not take effect until 2014.
Also, the law would have made it illegal to perform an abortion on any woman beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother’s health was in danger or if the fetus was not viable.
The Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is expected to file an emergency appeal with the fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and argues that the new law protects women and the life of the fetus. It will be Abbott who runs against Davis in the next Texas election for Governor, current governor Rick Perry retires after this term.
The fight in Texas over the abortion issue is far from over though. It will take months for the appeals process to play itself out and Yeakel’s ruling may very well be overturned on appeal. Yeakel’s previous ruling on an abortion related issue was overturned by the fifth circuit court in August of 2012.