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Ruling on Texas abortion restrictions called 'great victory' for life
Catholic News Service

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Right to Life said the March 27 decision by a federal appeals court upholding Texas abortion restrictions has given the state another "historic pro-life victory."

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld sections of a law passed last July that requires abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and that the RU-486 abortion drug be administered under direct supervision of a doctor according to Food and Drug Administration protocols.

The all-female panel, as Texas Right to Life pointed out in a statement, "rejected Planned Parenthood's argument that (the law) imposes an 'undue burden' on abortionists, abortion facilities and women seeking abortion."

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood which brought suit against the law, called it a "a terrible court ruling," and was not the "last word."

"The latest restrictions in Texas will force women to have abortions later in pregnancy, if they are able to get to a doctor at all," Richards said.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry said the decision was "good news for Texas women and the unborn, and we will continue to fight for the protection of life and women's health in Texas."

Texas Right to Life pointed to other recent court action that favored pro-life supporters. In 2011, the 5th Circuit upheld a Texas sonogram law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to first have a sonogram; the court also upheld a policy that kept abortion providers and Planned Parenthood out of the taxpayer-funded Women's Health Program.

In this latest court challenge, Planned Parenthood "may have overestimated" their arguments that the admitting privileges posed an undue burden on women seeking an abortion, the pro-life organization said.

According to Texas Right to Life, Planned Parenthood in testimony before the appeals court "conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion."

"Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an OB/GYN specialist's treatment," the pro-life group said.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, called the 5th Circuit's decision "a great victory for the efforts to protect both women and their children, and if we have anything to say about it, this victory will be repeated in state after state across the country."

"The reason the abortion industry opposes these restrictions is that they cannot live up to them. The abortionists are the bottom rung of the ladder of the medical profession, and they know it," he said in a statement.

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