Federal Judge Finds Texas Abortion Law Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled on Friday that a key component of Texas's anti-abortion law, which required all abortion clinics to meet the standards of hospital-level surgical centers, is unconstitutional. The ruling spares a dozen abortion clinics from closure.

In his ruling, CNN reports U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel wrote that enforcing the same standards on clinics as hospital-level surgical centers "imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a previability abortion." According to the AP, operating rooms and air filtration systems are among the expensive additions the law would have required existing abortion facilities to obtain.

The new requirement would have taken effect on Monday and closed all but seven abortion facilities in Texas, the country's second-largest state. The only clinics remaining would have been in the state's major cities, and there would have been none in the entire western half.

Republican lieutenant governor David Dewhurst said Friday:

"I am truly disappointed in today's ruling that undermines a concerted effort to improve health care for women in Texas by raising the standard of care in abortion clinics."

Yeakel's ruling concluded the law's intent was, instead, to "close existing licensed abortion clinics."

[image via AP]