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New York Times: Abortion Providers in Texas Sue Over a Restrictive Rule That Could Close Clinics

Erik Eckholm

Health clinics offering abortions in Texas filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday to block a new state rule that could shut down more than half of the state’s remaining providers this fall, forcing women seeking an abortion in southern and western Texas to drive several hundred miles each way or go out of state.

The rule, part of a sweeping anti-abortion law passed last year, requires that all clinics providing abortions at any stage of pregnancy, including nonsurgical drug-induced abortions, meet the costly building standards of ambulatory surgery centers.

Only six of the state’s 24 abortion clinics now meet that standard, which will take effect Sept. 1.

Also on Wednesday, a new law in Arizona to restrict medication abortions was put on temporary hold by a federal appeals court, which will decide as early as next week whether the limits should take effect until a challenge, brought by Planned Parenthood and other groups, goes to trial.

Whole Woman’s Health is closing, in large part, because their doctors could not fulfill a crucial provision of the new restrictions: obtaining admission privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.Abortion Law Pushes Texas Clinics to Close DoorsMARCH 6, 2014 Proponents of the Texas law, including Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, say the surgery center requirement will enhance patient safety. But the clinics, backed by major medical associations, say it is unnecessary and singles out abortion clinics for costly regulation when other, riskier outpatient procedures do not have to meet the same standard.

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