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Abbott Files Immediate Appeal Of Federal Judge's Decision On Abortion Clinic Regulations

Ryan Poppe
TPR News
Attorneys exit the court building after final arguments in what is the first legal challenge of Texas' new abortion law.

As he promised before a decision was even announced, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed an appeal on the federal judge's ruling that two components of Texas’ new abortion law are unconstitutional.

Federal District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled yesterday afternoon that the abortion clinic regulation contained in the new law requiring doctors at facilities that provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 minutes of the clinic is unconstitutional.

Yeakel also put a partial hold on the requirement that doctors provide patients with FDA guidelines when prescribing the abortion drug RU-486.

Without the ruling, several clinics throughout the state -- especially those in South Texas  -- would be closing their doors.

Less than an hour after the ruling, Abbott filed an appeal with the U.S. 5th Circuit Court and issued this statement:

"As everyone  has acknowledged, this is a matter that will ultimately be resolved by the appellate courts or the U.S. Supreme Court."

Kyleen Wright, the executive director of the group Texans for Life, a pro-life group that is backing the Abbott appeal, said they welcome an appellate battle.

"We still expect a win," Wright said, "Even if we had gotten the ruling we wanted we knew we would be going to the 5th Circuit. So [it's] disappointing, but we’re in for the long-haul and we’re ready."

The provision in the new law that bans abortions after 20 weeks has not been challenged.  

The provision requiring abortion clinics to upgrade to ambulatory surgical standards doesn’t kick in until September 2014. Abortion rights groups will likely be back in court to fight that component of the law as the deadline draws nearer.

Gov. Rick Perry statement on ruling:

"Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently. We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans."

State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte statement on ruling:

"I’m grateful that a Texas court agreed today that House Bill 2 would have had harmful effects on women’s access to care and affirmed that the Republican-controlled Legislature went too far in its attacks on women."