The Latest: Wendy Davis calls abortion ruling gratifying end

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Posted: Jun 27, 2016 6:06 PM
The Latest: Wendy Davis calls abortion ruling gratifying end

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court's decision striking down Texas' strict regulation of abortion clinics (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

Wendy Davis says she burst into tears after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Texas abortion law that the former Democratic state senator once temporarily blocked with an 11-hour filibuster in 2013.

Davis said Monday she viewed the 5-3 decision as the justices shutting down future efforts by Republican-controlled states to impose what she called "sham laws" on abortion providers. She also says that abortion services in some underserved Texas areas could return over the next six months.

Davis became a national political star after her filibuster on floor of Texas Senate in running shoes temporarily derailed the law. She was cheered on by thousands of abortion-rights supporters and unsuccessfully ran for governor a year later.

The ruling amounted to the Supreme Court's strongest defense of abortion rights in a quarter-century.

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3:50 p.m.

Activists say that despite the Supreme Court's striking down Texas' tough abortion restrictions, some of the 20-plus clinics that closed statewide because of it likely won't reopen.

Texas had 41 abortion facilities in 2013, when the Republican-controlled Legislature approved the law. It has 19 today.

Rebecca Robertson, the ACLU of Texas' legal and policy director, said Monday that "some of those clinics are likely not coming back."

She said that after past court decisions involving abortion "sometimes it takes years to rebuild the access that we had."

Whole Woman's Health, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit considered by the Supreme Court, said it had no information about immediately reopening Texas clinics.

Doing so requires overcoming time-consuming logistical hurdles like rehiring staff and getting new leases, and state licenses.

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12:55 p.m.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices' decision in the Texas abortion clinic case provoked a strong response from Justice Samuel Alito. After Justice Stephen Breyer read a summary of his majority opinion aloud in court, Alito summarized his dissenting opinion. It was the second time in a week he had read aloud.

Alito was the only justice to read even one dissent from the bench, something that typically takes place a few times each term.

Seeming to tap the bench in emphasis, Alito criticized his more liberal colleagues for bending procedural rules that he says should have foreclosed the clinics' Supreme Court case.

Last week, he read a dissent in a case about affirmative action, spending more than 15 minutes reading aloud. His dissent Monday lasted about 10 minutes.

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12:45 p.m.

The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America is cheering the Supreme Court's abortion ruling as "an enormous victory for women."

Cecile Richards, whose mother was a former Texas governor, said in a statement that the court "recognized that these laws do not enhance patient safety."

Instead, Richards said tough restrictions passed in Texas in 2013 — and subsequently copied in other states — "punish women by blocking access to safe abortion."

On Monday, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 in support of Texas clinics, which argued the 2013 regulations were an attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion.

Monday's ruling may also jeopardize similar state laws approved by Legislatures elsewhere.

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11:40 a.m.

Former state Sen. Wendy Davis says the Supreme Court striking down Texas' abortion law validates a 2013 filibuster she staged against it.

Davis tweeted: "Today made that day 3 yrs ago all worth it!"

The Democrat from Fort Worth stood in the Texas Senate for 11-plus hours three years ago, temporarily blocking tough abortion restrictions.

The GOP-controlled state Legislature easily passed them in a subsequent special session, though.

On Monday, the high court voted 5-3 in support of Texas clinics, which argued the regulations were an attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion.

The filibuster made Davis — and the pink tennis shoes she wore — a national sensation in liberal circles. But her 2014 gubernatorial run ended in an overwhelming defeat by Republican Greg Abbott.

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11:10 a.m.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott says the Supreme Court's decision striking down his state's strict regulation of abortion clinics "subjects more innocent life to being lost."

In a statement Monday, the Republican said the ruling "erodes states' lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women."

The justices voted 5-3 in support of Texas clinics, which argued the regulations were an attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion.

The law was approved by Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature in 2013, and lawmakers in other conservative states have since passed similar measures.

Abbott said his state's goal remains "to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women."

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10:35 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says the Supreme Court's ruling to strike down Texas' regulation of abortion clinics is "a victory for women in Texas and across America."

The Democratic presidential candidate says in a signed posting to Twitter that a "safe abortion should be a right-not just on paper, but in reality."

The justices voted 5-3 on Monday in support of the Texas clinics that argued the regulations were an attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion.

Clinton says the "fight isn't over," adding that the "next president has to protect women's health. Women won't be 'punished' for exercising their basic rights."

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9:08 a.m.

The Supreme Court has struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics in the court's biggest abortion case in nearly a quarter century.

The justices voted 5-3 Monday in favor of Texas clinics that protested the regulations as a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation's second-most populous state.

Justice Stephen Breyer's majority opinion for the court held that the regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit a woman's right to an abortion.

Texas had argued that its 2013 law and subsequent regulations were needed to protect women's health. The rules required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and forced clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.