Houston Chronicle is reporting that a US District judge has declared that the abortion restrictions passed by the Texas legislature, specifically the admitting privileges requirement, are unconstitutional, blocking the law from being enforced:
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, in a 26-page order issued Monday, ruled the admitting privileges requirement is unconstitutional and poses an undue burden on women seeking an abortion.
The statute “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the State in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health and, in any event, places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus and is thus an undue burden to her,” Yeakel wrote. “The court concludes that admitting privileges have no rational relationship to improved patient outcomes and hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of a facility in which a physician provides abortion services.”
In his ruling, however, Yeakel upheld a portion of the law that puts new restrictions on pregnancy-ending drugs, saying the state’s requirement “is clearly more burdensome to a woman” than the current protocol used by most abortion doctors. But abortion-right groups challenging the law did not meet the threshold to show it would be an undue burden for women.
“At some point, the totality of incidental effects may become an undue burden,” Yeakel wrote. “However, the record before the court, when viewed through the prism of the Supreme Court’s controlling precedent, establishes that threshold has not been met.”
His decision comes a day before both of the provisions were set to kick in under a sweeping package of abortion restrictions passed by the Legislature this summer.
Just fyi, Judge Lee Yeakel was appointed by George W. Bush in 2003.
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