Judge strikes down big part of Texas abortion law

A federal judge has thrown out a big portion of the new Texas abortion law, a victory for abortion-rights advocates.

In the second lawsuit brought on by groups against HB2, on Friday U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled the ambulatory surgical requirements portion of HB2 unconstitutional.

The new rule was set to take effect Monday and would have closed all but six to eight abortion clinics for the entire state of Texas. It would have required clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards.

Supporters say it's to protect women but Judge Yeakel said the intent was only to "close existing licensed abortion clinics."

The judge also suspended the admitting privileges portion of HB2 for clinics in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso.

FOX 7 spoke with pro-choice advocate Heather Busby (NARAL) and pro-life advocate Carol Everett (Heidi Group) to get their take.

"It's clear that HB2 was passed based on lies and conjecture. And that the facts and the evidence weren't in the state's favor. So we feel that this ruling is correct and we're very glad that the courts have intervened," Busby said.

"I'm always concerned when we have a judicial ruling like this. But in the end I believe that the health of women will be protected by HB2. We saw it come together in an incredible way. It's already protecting the health of women in Texas and I believe it will stand because it's good medical practice," Everett said.

Immediately after the decision came down the pipe, a group of protestors gathered at Governor Perry's front door, right in front of the Governor's mansion.

Alex Petersburg with StopPatriarchy.org says they're happy about this but their work is not done.

"The fact of the matter is this is not a time to sit back and relax and celebrate. Just here in Texas there was a 20-week ban passed as part of HB2. The hospital admitting privileges law is a medically unnecessary law that has forced 20 clinics to close here in Texas and the abortion pill has been greatly restricted as well. These are laws that are doing nothing more than sweeping the nation," Petersburg said.

Of course, Wendy Davis got a lot of attention last year for her 13-hour filibuster on HB2 at the Capitol. She's now running for governor against Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Speaking of Abbott, he's expected to appeal Friday's decision very quickly.


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