This July, lawmakers in Texas passed a bill that restricted abortion after 20 weeks gestation, required clinics to comply with higher health standards, mandated that doctors have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals, and mandated an FDA-approved protocol for RU-486 administration. Following a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood, a judge has ruled that the parts of the law are unconstitutional.
District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote Monday that the regulations violated the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients and would unreasonably restrict a woman's access to abortion clinics.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought the lawsuit, arguing that a requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic would force the closure of a third of the clinics in Texas. They also complained that requiring doctors to follow the Food and Drug Administration's original label for an abortion-inducing drug would deny women the benefit of recent advances in medical science.
The judge found that requiring that a doctor have admitting privileges is unconstitutional, and that the requirement of an FDA-approved protocol for administrating RU-486 maybe lifted in cases necessary to preserve the life of health of the mother. The restriction of abortion after 20 weeks was not challenged in this case.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is expected to file an appeal.