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Second lawsuit to challenge Texas abortion law

By Chuck Lindell - American-Statesman Staff

An abortion-rights advocacy group said Wednesday that it plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging a Texas requirement that all abortions be performed in clinics that meet the same requirements as ambulatory surgical centers.

The requirement, which takes effect Sept. 1, is a key provision of House Bill 2, which was passed last summer in the second of two acrimonious special legislative sessions.

The lawsuit also will challenge HB 2’s requirement that doctors for two abortion clinics, in McAllen and El Paso, gain admitting privileges in a nearby hospital. The requirement, recently ruled constitutional by a federal appeals court, improperly forced the closure of the two clinics, which were among the last clinics operating in their communities, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which said it will file the lawsuit Wednesday.

The ambulatory surgical center rule would force abortion clinics “to either rebuild from the ground up and become essentially mini-hospitals or close entirely — leaving fewer than 10 clinics in a state with a female population of 13 million,” according to a statement from the center.

“There would not be a single abortion clinic west or south of San Antonio, forcing many women to endure a round trip of more than a thousand miles to access safe and legal abortion services, or cross state lines,” the center said.

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