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Obama administration urges Supreme Court to strike down Texas abortion law

[JURIST] The Obama administration on Monday called on [brief, PDF] the US Supreme to strike down a recently passed Texas abortion law which the administration argues will harm women's health. According to US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli [official profile], the law would continue to close [Reuters report] many of the state's clinics. Verrilli further stated that the challenged requirements "do not produce actual health benefits," and that they "indeed, would harm," rather than protect, women's health. The administration argues that the requirements are more restrictive than those previously upheld by the court. The new regulations require that any facility providing abortions meet the standard of ambulatory care centers, and that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at hospitals no more than 48 kilometers from the clinics at which they practice.

Abortion and reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] have been at the forefront of legal debate over the past several months in the US. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit placed a temporary injunction [JURIST report] on an order from Utah Governor Gary Herbert that would have ended the state's contract with Planned Parenthood and cut federal funding to the organization's Utah branches. In November the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a state law [JURIST report] that bars an individual from bringing a "wrongful birth" suit. In October the US House of Representatives approved [JURIST report] the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, a bill that would cut all federal funding to women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood. Also in October the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee lifted [JURIST report] a temporary restraining order that limited the state in enforcing new abortion laws regarding licensing standards for clinics. In July Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker enacted [JURIST report] the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, limiting the ability of a woman to seek an abortion more than 20 weeks into her pregnancy.

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