Divided US Supreme Court leaves Texas abortion law in effect

Texas, where abortion-rights battles took place in July at the state capitol, is part of an eight-state region that has gotten more conservative on the issue.

Eric Gay/AP

File: Texas, where abortion-rights battles took place in July at the state capitol, is part of an eight-state region that has gotten more conservative on the issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block abortion restrictions that are included in a new Texas law that was enacted after vigorous debate this year. The law is the subject of an ongoing legal battle.

Texas officials have defended the law in lower federal courts, with Planned Parenthood and other opponents winning an initial victory that was overturned days later by a U.S. Court of Appeals.

In today's ruling, as SCOTUSblog reports, "The majority said that the challengers had not met the requirement for setting aside a federal appeals court order permitting the law to take effect."

The blog's Lyle Denniston adds that the vote on the issue was 5-4.

Critics of the Texas law have said it imposes a burden both on physicians who perform abortions and on their patients, with its requirement that the doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.

"The case remains on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans," the AP reports. "That court is expected to hear arguments in January, and the law will remain in effect at least until then."

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