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Lawsuit Filed in Texas to Prevent Part of Abortion Law From Passing

Update Date: Sep 27, 2013 03:50 PM EDT
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Planned Parenthood, the largest U.S. abortion provider, along with smaller abortion clinics in Texas filed a federal lawsuit Friday against a new state law, claiming it will illegally force a third of the state's abortion facilities to close and illegally interferes with a woman's right to have an abortion.

A 32-page complaint was filed in Austin, Texas by the providers and Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under the new law doctors are required to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allows abortions in surgical centers and bans the procedure completely after 20 weeks, while also limiting medical abortions. 

The groups said in a conference call on Friday they are challenging a provision stating that doctors who provide abortions must have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and another part that requires direct supervision of a doctor for women to receive the so-called "abortion pill" (also known as RU-486) and misoprostol (known as Cytotec) as printed on the label, according to Reuters.

According to the practice, chemical abortions are typically available through 63 days after a woman's last menstrual period, the lawsuit said. But the new law "seem to ban the procedure entirely after 49 days."

This would "dramatically" restrict "women's access to medical abortion" - plus, the requirements for a doctor visit before and after the abortion could mean "four separate trips to an abortion facility over the course of two weeks."

The provisions are set to go into effect Oct. 29.

"This is no time to back down," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said Friday.

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