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Texas seeks emergency appeal of federal abortion ruling

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TWC News: Texas seeks emergency appeal of federal abortion ruling
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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an emergency appeal Tuesday to reverse a federal judge’s ruling made the day before, asking for a response by the end of Tuesday.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that portions of new abortion regulations were unconstitutional and should not go into effect on Tuesday, as they had been scheduled to.

In his ruling, Yeakel said requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals would place “undue burden” on women seeking abortion. Yeakel also ruled that new standards for administering abortion-inducing drugs should come down to the physician’s "appropriate medical judgment."

The fight over abortion began at the State Capitol earlier this year, with large crowds of protestors on both sides of the issue showing up to have their voices heard.

"Anytime you have a case that involves abortion restrictions like this, there's always a possibility that it will go to the Supreme Court,” Jane Crepps, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said.

It's no wonder the federal courts would be drawn into an effort by Texas or any other state to restrict what has for decades been a woman's constitutional right to have access to an abortion.

But anti-abortion groups are already hopeful things will come out in their favor. "We do think the 5th circuit court of appeals will uphold the law," Joe Pojman with the Texas Alliance for Life said.

Pojman points to previous rulings by the federal appeals court—rulings he says are supportive of his cause.

“They upheld a year ago the regulations that prevented Planned Parenthood from getting our tax dollars to promote abortions as a method of birth control, and the 5th Circuit which upheld the sonogram law about a year and a half ago."

Abortion rights groups see this latest move by the state as another affront to Texas women.

"What we've seen these past couple years in Texas is that politicians have been directly interfering with women's healthcare and so we'll continue to do whatever it is we need to do to help protect our patients and make sure they have access to vital health services," Sarah Wheat with Planned Parenthood.

A similar measure passed in Mississippi is already before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Like Texas, Mississippi asked to keep the law in place, pending the appeal. In that matter, the stay was denied.

Meanwhile the nation is watching the Texas case closely for both constitutional and political reasons. Abbott is running for Governor with what could be a strong challenge from Senator Wendy Davis—who filibustered the legislation during the first special session—looking to stop passage of the law altogether.

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