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Texas Abortion Clinics Struggle To Meet Hospital Privileges Requirement

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A federal court has ruled a key portion of the new abortion law set to take effect Tuesday is unconstitutional. A provision in the new law, passed by the state legislature, would have required doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

Officials with Planned Parenthood say that would have forced its clinic in Fort Worth to stop all abortions after Midnight.  Danielle Wells, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, says doctors at the clinic have admitting privileges at hospitals, just not the right ones.
“They have privileges that are just outside of the 30 miles that are mandated by the restriction.”

The Whole Women’s Health Clinic was prepared to shut its doors altogether. The owner testified in federal court that doctors at the clinic also didn’t meet the new requirement and that those who did turned down her job offers.

Republican State Representative Jason Villalba said the intent of the law is to protect women. “If something does go wrong, during this procedure, at least they can be admitted into a hospital very quickly.”

Federal judge Lee Yeakel, though, wrote in his ruling, “Admitting privileges make no difference in the quality of care received by an abortion patient in an emergency room.” He also found the requirement would cause clinics to close placing “an ‘undue burden’ on a woman seeking abortion services.”

A ban on abortions after 20 weeks, which was not challenged in the lawsuit, will take effect Tuesday. So will new restrictions on abortions induced by medication.

Planned Parenthood lawyers argued in court those restrictions will make abortions more expensive and more difficult for some women. Judge Yeakel, though, ruled the provision was constitutional.

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