A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the state of Texas may enforce a law that requires abortion clinics to be built to the same standards as hospitals. Only seven abortion facilities in America’s second-most populous state meet the requirements. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which sued the state on behalf of a coalition of abortion clinics, said that Thursday’s decision will force nearly 1 million Texas women of reproductive age to drive a minimum of 300 miles round trip “to access their constitutional right to an abortion.”
Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is the favorite to be elected Texas’ next governor in November, is defending the law in court. His spokesperson Lauren Bean said: “This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women.” Abbott will run against Democrat Wendy Davis, who achieved a nearly 13-hour filibuster last summer that temporarily blocked the law in the state Senate. In her memoir Forgetting to Be Afraid, Davis wrote that she terminated two pregnancies for medical reasons in the 1990s.