Court upholds key parts of Texas' strict anti-abortion law

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court has upheld key parts of Texas's strict anti-abortion law, likely closing most of the abortion clinics in the nation's second largest state.

The decision Tuesday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans comes in a lawsuit challenging one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country.

The Republican-backed law requires that abortion providers in Texas meet hospital-level operating standards, which owners of small clinics say requires unaffordable upgrades.

Opponents call it a thinly veiled attempt to block abortions, which have been legal since a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and other conservative backers say the standards protect women's health.

Abortion providers will now turn to the U.S. Supreme Court, which temporarily sidelined the Texas law last year.