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Federal appeals court upholds restrictive Texas abortion rules for physicians

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By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld a Texas law that places restrictions on abortions, saying a provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was a reasonable regulation.

Those opposed to the law have said it is a veiled attempt to limit abortions by imposing costly and unnecessary regulations, adding that the law may be copied by other states trying to limit abortions within their borders.

A federal judge erred last year in blocking the law, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found. The U.S. Supreme Court later allowed it to go into effect.

“The district court’s opinion took the wrong approach to the rational basis test,” the 5th Circuit’s decision said.

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The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges, the ability to admit a patient for treatment at a hospital usually by being recognized as a doctor who can use hospital facilities, at an adequately equipped hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

Backers said the requirement protects the health of mothers while opponents argue it places an undue burden on women in rural parts of the state where medical facilities are sparse.

“Requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges would also promote the continuity of care in all cases, reducing the risk of injury caused by miscommunication and misdiagnosis when a patient is transferred from one health care provider to another,” the court wrote.

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But Planned Parenthood, which brought the suit, said abortion complications are rare and usually similar to those of a miscarriage, which often are treated by emergency room physicians.

Since the new law went into effect about five months ago, about a third of the abortion providers in Texas have closed, mostly because of the admitting privileges provision, leaving 19 clinics for the state’s 26 million people.

Texas, seen as an incubator of conservative policies, has garnered a great deal of attention because its regulations have stood up to court challenges.

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The court did allow abortion providers who have applied for admitting privileges within the state’s designated time frame but have yet to receive a decision from hospitals to continue their practice.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

[Image: Keep Abortion Legal by American Life League, via Flickr Creative Commons]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
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WATCH: Trump apologist goes down in flames when he claims Democrats don’t get attacked like Trump

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Former White House advisor Matt Mowers went down in flames trying to claim Democrats call everyone a racist when they don't agree with them. He had to go back 15 years to find an example, but still never fully explained what the example was.

In a panel discussion with MSNBC's Kasie Hunt, Mowers employed the "what about" strategy, spinning the idea that Trump's racist remarks were justified because Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) used an anti-Semitic trope. To be fair, Omar apologized and met with community leaders and officials to better understand anti-Semitism. Trump can't even admit when he did something wrong, much less racist.

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Conservative Never-Trump columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined the essential questions that Democrats should ask special counsel Robert Mueller in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

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‘Is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade’: Trump once ‘joked’ John Bolton wants ‘to nuke them all’

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Even President Donald Trump recognizes that John Bolton is a war-loving hawk, Axios reported Sunday.

In a conversation that included the Irish prime minister, Trump asked Bolton, "John, is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade?"

The scene was during the annual St. Patrick's Day visit. Typically it's a photo-op, a handshake, and men in green ties with a shamrock sprig in their jacket pocket. Trump managed to turn it into an awkward scene for everyone.

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