The U.S. Supreme Court has put a hold on a ruling that would have closed all but eight abortion clinics in Texas. That order stems from a 2013 law enforcing stricter conditions on abortion clinics statewide.
KXAN: "The law required abortion clinics to meet hospital-like building standards. Those standards meant all but a handful of clinics in the state had to close."
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court halted those requirements and others from a federal appeals court ruling, which also said doctors performing abortions must be able to admit patients at nearby hospitals — only clinics in McAllen and El Paso are exempt from that part of the ruling.
State officials have said their decision to raise abortions clinic standards is in the interest of women's health, while opponents say the policy is just a way to bypass Roe v. Wade and effectively shut down Texas's abortion clinics. (Video via KVUE)
Tuesday's order by the country's highest court is just the latest round in the ongoing battle over abortion in Texas — and the past few months have been particularly busy.
A U.S. District Court judge struck down provisions of the 2013 law August 29, saying it created an "impermissible obstacle" for women seeking abortions. Then, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the law on Oct. 2. (Video via KTBC)
That back-and-forth caused a bit of confusion for the state and clinics in El Paso:
KVIA: "According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the ruling exempted Women's Reproductive Clinic, not the Hilltop Reproductive Clinic. But the state confused the two and has since acknowledged the error."
The 5th Circuit Court ruled Oct. 9 the ban could be enforced while the state appealed. Tuesday's order from the Supreme court reversed that decision.
Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup said because of the Supreme Court's order, 13 Texas clinics will be able to re-open Wednesday. But she added this is only a temporary victory: "This fight against Texas’ sham abortion law is not over. HB2 was designed to gut the constitutional protections of Roe v. Wade and half of the state’s clinics remain closed."
According to SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court's order will stand until the 5th Circuit Court rules again on the controversial law.