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Greg Abbott Defends Stricter Abortion Law, While Opponents Ask Judge To Delay It

Gregg Abbott talked about abortion law after receiving an endorsement at a pancake restaurant in Dallas.
Gregg Abbott talked about abortion law after receiving an endorsement at a pancake restaurant in Dallas.

In Dallas on Monday, Attorney General Greg Abbott defended a new state abortion law being challenged in federal court this week.

Abbott, a Republican, talked about the challenge during a stop at an Original Pancake House, which served as the backdrop for the Texas Restaurant Association’s endorsement of Abbott for governor.

Lawyers from his Attorney General’s office were in a federal courtroom in Austin, defending new abortion restrictions scheduled to go into effect Oct. 29.

They are restrictions Abbott’s Democratic opponent for Governor, Sen. Wendy Davis, famously filibustered in June and temporarily derailed with the help of bill opponents gathered at the capitol.

Abortion providers are asking the judge to delay the implementation of the bill which bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires doctors performing the abortions to have admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinics. There are also new rules for pill-induced abortions.

Brigitte Amiri with the American Civil Liberties Union says those restrictions violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee for access to a legal abortion because they will cause many clinics to close.

“Actually, they are doing it to put abortion providers out of business, and that is exactly what is going to happen as a result of this law,” Amiri said.

Abbott disagrees.  He says the U.S. Supreme Court has given states the right to protect a mother’s health.

“The reality is we’ve seen some horrific examples across the country where women’s health was damaged because of these procedures. And I believe the law passed by the state legislature takes a step forward by protecting women’s health,” Abbott said.

Abbott’s job as Attorney General requires his office to defend laws passed by the legislature but he is also solidly pro-life and a supporter of the new legislation.

Davis is pro-choice but says she’s also concerned that women will have fewer options for affordable pap smears, breast exams and other health care if the clinics are forced to close.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel will continue hearing arguments Tuesday in Austin.

Copyright 2020 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.
Shelley Kofler
Shelley Kofler is managing editor/senior reporter forKERANews. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who has served asKERAnews director and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliateWFAA-TV. Her expertise on legislative policy issues includes school finance, foster care and transportation; and her stories on the overmedication of foster children captured the attention of state officials who strengthened laws for the use of psychotropic drugs.