The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America's second most-populous state. In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an Oct. 2 appeals court ruling. A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had said Texas could immediately apply a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.
The court also put on hold a provision of the law only as it applies to clinics in McAllen and El Paso that requires doctors at the facilities to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The rule remains in effect elsewhere in Texas. Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have ruled against the clinics in all respects. The 5th Circuit is still considering the overall constitutionality of the sweeping law, overwhelmingly passed by the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last year.
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