shutterstock_138150899-375x250In a move that took both sides of the abortion divide by surprise, the 5th District Court of Appeals yesterday reversed most of a lower court’s decision to block an impactful portion of Texas’ new anti-abortion law. From  USA Today:

A federal appeals court reinstated most of Texas’ tough new restrictions on abortions Thursday in a ruling that means as many as a dozen clinics around the state will not be able to continue performing procedures.

The restrictions could take effect Friday, stopping abortion procedures in at least one-third of the state’s licensed health centers, according to opponents of the law.

The ruling from a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals came just three days after a federal district judge set aside part of the law, a requirement that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. That ruling by Judge Lee Yeakel said the provision served no medical purpose….

The panel left in place a portion of Yeakel’s order that prevents the state from enforcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol for abortion-inducing drugs in cases where the woman is between 50 and 63 days into her pregnancy. Doctors testifying before the court had said such women would be harmed if the protocol were enforced.

The court’s order is temporary until it can hold a complete hearing, likely in January.

The court decision means that beginning as early as today any abortion mill whose abortionist on call does not have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the chop shop will have to STOP committing abortions.

Amy Hagstrom MillerThe fallout for the abortion industry appears real.

Per Daily KosAmy Hagstrom Miller (pictured right), the owner of five Texas abortion clinics, told Rachel Maddow last night that three of her clinics will shut down immediately.” Miller tweeted that she was “devastated.”

Miller told Maddow one of her shuttered clinics is on the border, in McAllen, and aborts mothers from Mexico as well as the U.S. ”Most of the women we serve there are mothers,” noted Miller, meaning the contraceptive/comprehensive sex ed movement has failed them by giving them a false sense of security.

More on the court decision from The New York Times:

The requirement is likely to be unconstitutional, [Yeakel] declared, because it is “without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.”

But the appeals panel found just the opposite: that the rule is likely to be constitutional because it serves a legitimate state interest in regulating doctors and does not impose an “undue burden” on the right to abortion.

The appeals court said that the admitting privilege rule might “increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions.”

But it cited a Supreme Court statement in an earlier abortion case that if a regulation serves a valid purpose, the fact that it has “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate it.”

The appeals court’s move is by no means permanent, so it is premature to declare victory for babies, mothers, and their families, but undoubtedly there will be lives saved because of yesterday’s decision.

[Top photo via RH Reality Check; bottom screen shot via Daily Kos]

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