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Fifth Circuit Stays Yeakel Ruling

Court of Appeals says HB 2 abortion restrictions go forward

By Michael King, 7:53PM, Thu. Oct. 31, 2013

Fifth Circuit Stays Yeakel Ruling
Illustration by Jason Stout

In a decision released late Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, overturning the ruling of federal District Judge Lee Yeakel and allowing enforcement of the restrictions that will likely leave thousands of Texas women without access to abortion care.

Specifically, the three-judge panel stayed Yeakel's injunction against the law – specifically the provision that will require doctors administering abortions to have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital – pending an appeal to the whole Fifth Circuit that will not be heard until at least January. That means many clinics will close, because most doctors will not be able to get admitting privileges to hospitals where they do not normally practice. The ruling left in place, in part, the judge's ruling that medication abortions could be performed in certain circumstances, when the mother's life or health is in danger.

The suit was brought by Planned Parenthood and other organizations, and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards released a statement that read in part, “This fight is far from over. This restriction clearly violates Texas women’s constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide. If Texans showed America one thing during the historic protests against this law this summer, we demonstrated that Texans value women’s health – and that is why we will take every step we can to protect the health of Texas women in the wake of this ruling.”

Follow the Newsdesk for more on the consequences of the Fifth Circuit decision.

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