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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.

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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.

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)

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


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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CNN legal analysts rip apart Jim Jordan’s ‘nonsensical’ defense of Trump witness intimidation

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CNN legal analyst Elie Honig blasted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for arguing that President Donald Trump hadn't engaged in witness intimidation by tweeting attacks on a former ambassador as she testified against him in the impeachment inquiry.

Jordan argued the tweet can't be witness intimidation because Marie Yovanovitch wouldn't have known about the attack if Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hadn't read it to her, but Honig said the GOP lawmaker's claim was ridiculous.

"His point is nonsensical," Honig said. "Of course, she was going to find out about a tweet that went out to 60 million people-plus. The law covers any way you look regarding timing."

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‘Everyone he touches gets tainted’: CNN panel astonished by number of criminally convicted Trump allies

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A CNN panel on Friday stood in awe at the number of President Donald Trump's allies who have been convicted of crimes ever since his election in 2016.

During a panel discussion about Trump ally Roger Stone's conviction on seven criminal counts that included witness intimidation, perjury, and obstruction of justice, CNN host Anderson Cooper said it was astonishing how many of the people who helped the president get elected have wound up in jail.

"In your own life, how many people are you close to in your orbit who have been convicted of crimes?" Cooper asked and then listed off former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, and former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

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Marie Yovanovitch made a ‘mockery’ of Trump’s dismissal of the ‘deep state’ with her testimony: CNN’s David Gregory

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CNN contributor David Gregory used his time during a panel segment on the impeachment testimony of Marie Yovanovitch to hammer President Donald Trump for attacking the diplomat on Twitter as she spoke -- then said she had made a "mockery" of his [Trump's] dismissal of the "deep state."

According to Gregory, viewers might think he was naive to believe the president would not get personal and go after Yovanovitch, but that he was honestly stunned.

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