Abortion rights supporters are expected to launch a new court fight against the second phase of a controversial Texas law aimed at reducing abortions.
The restriction, which takes effect in September, mandates that women using pills to induce an abortion must go to an outpatient facility to take the medication with a doctor in attendance, according to The Dallas Morning News
The pills bring on cramping and bleeding, similar to a miscarriage, to induce the abortion, and are currently taken at home.
Only six of the remaining 24 abortion clinics operating in Texas have surgical centers that meet the necessary standards of the state, according to the Morning News.
Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld
two other provisions in the new law, mandating that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and enforcing outdated federal protocols for use of abortion drugs. The laws have forced some clinics to shut down.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Sarah Wheat told the Morning News the latest restriction will lead to the closure of more clinics, and abortion medication will be "out of reach for thousands of Texas women."
It is believed that pro-choice advocates will announce later this week that they will seek an injunction against the ruling, while officials in the Lone Star State have declared that they will actively defend the new abortion laws passed last year.
The showdown is seen as a test case in the rights of states to restrict access to abortion by hitting clinics and doctors with regulations.
Lindsay Rodriguez, president of the Lilith Fund, a group helping women seeking abortions, said that many women in the early stages of pregnancy had preferred the less invasive abortion-inducing medication to surgical abortions. But she added that since the new law had been passed they are seeking out surgical procedures.
According to the Morning News, the patient takes the first of two pills in a doctor's office, and the second one at home. Rodriguez said that some doctors refuse to administer the pills if "the patient doesn't live, or isn't [staying], very close to the clinic because the patient might start having their abortion on the way home."
Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group, said that the mandate requiring pill-induced abortions to take place at a surgical center could help save lives if complications arise, according to the Morning News.
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