POLITICS
10/06/2014 08:11 pm ET Updated Dec 07, 2014

Abortion Rights Groups Ask SCOTUS To Halt Texas Restrictions

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Abortion rights groups filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asking it to put on hold a federal appeals court decision allowing new abortion restrictions to go into effect in Texas.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled last week that Texas could begin enforcing requirements that clinics have certain hospital-like settings for surgeries, a regulation that abortion rights groups said was unnecessary and served as a veiled attempt to shut clinics.

The groups have said the measures would shutter all but seven clinics in the state of more than 26 million people, while supporters said the rules would reduce complications and improve patient care.

"Many women's constitutional rights will be extinguished before the appellate process runs its course, and their lives will be permanently and profoundly altered by the denial of abortion services," the application filed on behalf of Whole Woman's Health and other abortion rights groups said.

A lower court in August ruled the "ambulatory surgical center requirement" unconstitutional, finding it placed an undue burden on women seeking abortions. Texas officials appealed that ruling.

The requirement was to have gone into effect on Sept. 1. Under it, clinics would have had to meet a set of building standards ranging from widening halls to having facilities for certain surgeries that abortion rights advocates said were unnecessary, especially when an abortion is medically induced.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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