Supreme Court Blocks Portions of Texas Anti-Abortion Law

“[Wednesday], thirteen clinics across the state will be allowed to reopen and provide women with safe and legal abortion care in their own communities."

Over three dissenting justices, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Texas from enforcing key provisions of HB 2, the massive anti-abortion omnibus bill that has closed all but eight clinics in the state.

The Roberts Court released the one-paragraph order late Tuesday night, vacating much of a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that would allow the ambulatory surgical center (ASC) provisions of the law from taking effect. Those requirements mandate abortion clinics meet the same architectural requirements as stand-alone surgical centers. The order came in response to an emergency request by reproductive health advocates for the court to intervene.

Tuesday’s order also blocks the State of Texas from enforcing the admitting privileges requirement of HB 2 for clinics in McAllen and El Paso. That provision requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. That means those provisions will remain blocked while attorneys for the state appeal an August decision striking them as unconstitutional. In the meantime, those clinics that were forced to close after the Fifth Circuit’s decision can now re-open pending Texas’ appeal.

“The U.S. Supreme Court gave Texas women a tremendous victory today,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement following the ruling. “[Wednesday], thirteen clinics across the state will be allowed to reopen and provide women with safe and legal abortion care in their own communities.”

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito would have denied the request and let the Fifth Circuit decision allowing the ASC provisions to take effect.

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