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Abortion rights groups ask Supreme Court to halt Texas law

Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] and other abortion rights groups on Monday filed [press release] an emergency request [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court [official website] to reinstate a previous injunction blocking the implementation of a Texas law [HB2] placing new restrictions on abortion. The disputed restriction requires that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility. In late October, US District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked implementation of the law [JURIST report], finding that the heightened restriction was an unconstitutional hurdle to a woman's access to an abortion. This injunction was lifted [JURIST report] by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] last week, and the law was allowed to take effect immediately. Since the law's implementation on Friday, numerous clinics have been unable to practice the procedure due to failure to secure admitting privileges. Abortion rights groups seek to have the earlier injunction reinstated so that the provision is once again halted. Attorneys for the state have until November 12 to file a response to the emergency request.

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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