Supreme Court blocks Texas abor­tion clinic reg­u­la­tions

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

The U.S. Supreme Court last week acted to keep Texas’ 19 abor­tion clin­ics open, amid a le­gal fight that threat­ens to close more than half of them.

The jus­tices voted 5-4 to grant an emer­gency ap­peal from the clin­ics, af­ter a fed­eral ap­peals court up­held new clinic reg­u­la­tions and re­fused to keep them on hold while the clin­ics ap­pealed to the Supreme Court.

The high court’s or­der will re­main in ef­fect at least un­til the court de­cides whether to hear the clin­ics’ ap­peal of the lower court rul­ing, not be­fore the fall. The court’s de­ci­sion to block the reg­u­la­tions is a strong in­di­ca­tion that the jus­tices will hear the full ap­peal, which could be the big­gest abor­tion case in the Supreme Court in nearly 25 years.

Chief Jus­tice John Roberts and Jus­tices Sa­muel Al­ito, An­tonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have al­lowed the state to move ahead with reg­u­la­tions re­quir­ing abor­tion fa­cil­i­ties to be con­structed like sur­gi­cal cen­ters. Doc­tors at all clin­ics also would be re­quired to have ad­mit­ting priv­i­leges at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, a re­quire­ment al­ready in ef­fect in much of the state.

The clin­ics said en­forc­ing those new reg­u­la­tions would lead to a sec­ond ma­jor wave of clinic clo­sures statewide since the law was en­acted in 2013. Texas had 41 abor­tion clin­ics in 2012; 19 re­main.

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