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Supreme Court Blocks Abortion Rules That Closed Most Texas Clinics

The Supreme Court has placed a hold on a 2013 Texas law that was threatening to close most of the state's clinics that perform abortions.

NPR's Nina Totenberg reports that the law was already responsible for the closing of nearly 40 clinics across Texas. Nina filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"In August, a federal judge in Texas struck down key provisions of the law. Specifically, it struck down provisions that required abortion-providing clinics to spend millions of dollars to upgrade clinic facilities to the level of hospitals, and provisions that required doctors performing clinic abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

"On Oct. 2, a federal appeals court based in Texas blocked the lower court ruling from going into effect, sending clinic operators to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to keep their clinics open.

"On Tuesday night, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 6 to 3, temporarily heeded the pleas of clinic operators. The federal appeals court still must render a decision on the constitutionality of the Texas law, and that ruling will likely then be appealed to the Supreme Court."

As The New York Times reports, state lawmakers have argued that the law is intended to protect women, but abortion providers said "the regulations were expensive, unnecessary and a ruse meant to put many of them out of business."

NPR's John Burnett told our Newscast unit:

"Under the law the high court blocked, only abortion facilities in major urban areas could afford to remain open; those along the Texas-Mexico border have all shut down."

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Eyder Peralta and Chris Hopkins