Federal judge strikes down Texas’ controversial abortion laws

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AUSTIN, TX – If you thought Tuesday was the beginning of the end for legal abortions in Texas, think again. This afternoon, a federal judge in Austin took Texas’ new abortion law to task, declaring the state’s restrictions on doctors and clinics unconstitutional.

“This restriction would have meant that more than one-third of the health centers would be closing tomorrow,” said Planned Parenthood representative Alejandra Diaz, “so this is just great news for women in Texas right now.”

The hotly contested bill, signed into law by Governor Perry last July, restricted doctors from providing abortion services to women without admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. Those clinics were also supposed to maintain the same facilities as ambulatory surgical centers.

Clinics across the state had already begun closing their doors as a result of the restrictions and Planned Parenthood, along with others, sued. Today’s ruling means a small victory in a battle that could, still ultimately, end-up in the Supreme Court – in a statement, Governor Perry said he will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state.

Luke Stuckey of the Texas Coalition for Life sees today’s decision as a letdown for women in Texas. “Ultimately the legislation that was passed over the summer was in the benefit of Texas women and their health.”

For most folks in the state, the court of public opinion was heated on this. Remember last summer’s special session? The orange shirts. The blue shirts? Wendy Davis’ pink sneakers?

So, now come the appeals. The state is likely to file in New Orleans, just in time for abortion to become a key issue in the Governor’s race, going to show you: the more things change, the more they stay the same.