U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled today that portions of Texas’ 2013 abortion law are unconstitutional. “HB 2,” which passed during the last legislative session in spite of the efforts of now-gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D-10), drew the ire of women’s rights activists and abortion providers for its imposition of higher standards on clinics who provide abortion services.

The Opinion is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Via the Houston Chronicle:

“The ambulatory-surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a previability abortion,” Yeakel ruled, blocking enforcement of the requirement scheduled to take effect Monday.

Yeakel also ordered the McAllen and El Paso areas to be exempted from a separate provision of the law requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

He described the law, called House Bill 2, as “a brutally effective system of abortion regulation that reduces access to abortion clinics, thereby creating a statewide burden for substantial numbers of Texas women.” Already, a couple dozen clinics have closed since its enactment.

From the opinion:

Having carefully considered the parties’ briefing, stipulations, exhibits, trial testimony, arguments of counsel, and the applicable law, the court concludes: (1) the act’s admitting privileges provision is without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus, and (2) the act’s provisions that place restrictions on medication.

According to a spokesman from the Texas Attorney General’s office, the state will seek immediate relief from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The law was set to go into effect starting Monday.

You can read the opinion here.

Texas Abortion Law Decision – Planned Parenthood v Abbott