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ACLU, Planned Parenthood challenge Texas abortion law

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood [advocacy sites] and more than 19 other health organizations across Texas jointly filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Friday in federal court to block two provisions of provisions of a Texas abortion law [HB2] before they take effect on October 29. In particular, the lawsuit seeks to block a requirement that physicians who provide abortions must obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, which could cause at least one-third of the state's licensed clinics to close. The lawsuit also challenges restrictions on the use of abortion medication and requirements that women follow an older and less effective protocol. The legislation was opposed [ACLU press release] by 80 percent of Texas voters and faced criticism from medical experts across the country. The Texas Senate [official website] passed the bill on to Governor Rick Perry [official website], who signed [JURIST reports] it into law on July 18.

This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder] in the US. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in August against an Arizona law [HB 2800, PDF] that disqualified health providers that perform abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving public funds. Also in August, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) [advocacy website] sued [JURIST report] the Indiana State Department of Health [official website] challenging a new regulation [text] that defined facilities prescribing Mifepristone as abortion clinics and required them meet regulatory requirements of surgical facilities, even when they do not provide surgical procedures. A similar bill, which passed in Alabama in April, has received criticism as a "back-door" attempt [JURIST op-ed] to circumvent a woman's right to abortion.

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