Supreme Court blocks restrictive Texas abortion-clinic rules

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Supreme Court Blocks Rules Affecting Texas Abortion Clinics

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court refused on Monday to allow Texas to enforce restrictions that would force 10 abortion clinics to close.

The justices voted 5-4 to grant an emergency appeal from the clinics after a federal appeals court upheld new regulations and refused to keep them on hold while the clinics appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court order will remain in effect at least until the court decides whether to hear the clinics' appeal of the lower court ruling, not before the fall.

The court's decision to block the regulations is a strong indication that the justices will hear the full appeal, which could be the biggest abortion case at the Supreme Court in nearly 25 years.

If the court steps in, the hearing and the eventual ruling would come amid the 2016 presidential campaign.

See supporters and protesters around the state:

26 PHOTOS
Texas abortion protests, closed clinics
See Gallery
Supreme Court blocks restrictive Texas abortion-clinic rules
College students and abortion rights activists hold signs during a rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The demonstrators are urging an easing of strict limits on abortion that prompted massive protests but were overwhelmingly approved last session. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Two signs that read "Who Lobbied For This?, " and "We Need Healthcare Options, Not Obstacles", are held by attendees to a rally in front of city hall where a group of nearly 200 gathered to protest the approval of sweeping new restrictions on abortion, Monday, July 15, 2013, in Dallas. The gathering came as part of the National Day of Action that included similar rallies planned in several cities. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Activists tie on hospital gowns as they prepare to protest House Bill 3994 in the rotunda of the Texas Capitol, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Part of the bill would require women to present a government-issued ID before receiving abortion services. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2014 file photo, a group holds signs about Texas Gov. Rick Perry as he leaves the Blackwell Thurman Criminal Justice Center after he was booked and released, in Austin, Texas. Austin has made itself a painful exception to Republican rule in Texas. The big college town is home to the grand jury that indicted Perry while he was in office and to judges who authorized a gay wedding and struck down abortion restrictions and GOP cuts to public schools. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this month is signing laws that will draw power away from solidly Democratic Travis County and weaken its local jurisdiction over state business done inside its borders. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this July 12, 2013 file photo, Cecile Richards, daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, greets abortion rights advocates as they leave the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas. Abortions have declined in states where new laws make it harder to have them - but they’ve also waned in states where abortion rights are protected, an Associated Press survey finds. Nearly everywhere, in red states and blue, abortions are down since 2010. "Better access to birth control and sex education are the biggest factors in reducing unintended pregnancies," said Richards. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa, File)
A man walks past the former site of a clinic that offered abortions in El Paso, Texas, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Abortion services for many Texas women require a round trip of more than 200 miles, or a border-crossing into Mexico or New Mexico after federal appellate judges allowed full implementation of a law that has closed more than 80 percent of Texas' abortion clinics. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, center, talks with news reporters during a round table talk in his office at the Texas Capitol, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Rep. Mike Schoefield, R-Katy, packs up his desk after the House adjourned on the final day of the legislative session in the House Chamber at the Texas Capitol, Monday, June 1, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Guns, tax cuts and border security: new Republican Gov. Greg Abbott made those priorities his first six months on the job, and after the Texas Legislature ends Monday, he'll claim plenty of victories. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shares a laugh with news reporters during a round table talk in his office at the Texas Capitol, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A man walks into a clinic that offers abortions in Santa Teresa, N.M., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Abortion services for many Texas women require a round trip of more than 200 miles, or a border-crossing into Mexico or New Mexico after federal appellate judges allowed full implementation of a law that has closed more than 80 percent of Texas' abortion clinics. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
Texas Rep. Matt Krause, R- Fort Worth, left, talks with Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, right, in the House Chamber, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Morrison has proposed a bill making it more difficult for girls younger than 18 who face extreme circumstances to have abortions without their parents' consent. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Anti-abortion supporters march to the Texas Capitol during a Texas Rally for Life, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A man walks into a clinic that offers abortions in Santa Teresa, N.M., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Abortion services for many Texas women require a round trip of more than 200 miles, or a border-crossing into Mexico or New Mexico after federal appellate judges allowed full implementation of a law that has closed more than 80 percent of Texas' abortion clinics. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, talks with Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-Brownsville, right, in the Senate Chamber, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Under a bill that has cleared the Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday, most abortions in Texas could not be covered by insurance purchased through the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2015 file photo, college students and abortion rights activists hold signs and pray during a rally on the steps of the then Texas Capitol, to urge an easing of strict limits on abortions, in Austin, Texas. Abortions have declined in states where new laws make it harder to have them - but they’ve also waned in states where abortion rights are protected, an Associated Press survey finds. Nearly everywhere, in red states and blue, abortions are down since 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Anti-abortion supporters carry signs and a life-sized photo of Pope John Paul II as they march to the Texas Capitol during a Texas Rally for Life, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Anti-abortion supporters march through downtown as they head to the Texas Capitol during a Texas Rally for Life, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: Supporters of Texas women's right to reproductive decisions rally at the Texas State capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This is first day of a second legislative special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pass an restrictive abortion law through the Texas legislature. The first attempt was defeated after opponents of the law were able to stall the vote until after first special session had ended. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: Supporters of Texas women's right to reproductive decisions rally at the Texas State capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This is first day of a second legislative special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pass an restrictive abortion law through the Texas legislature. The first attempt was defeated after opponents of the law were able to stall the vote until after first special session had ended. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: A pro-life supporter in the Texas State capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This is first day of a second legislative special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pass an restrictive abortion law through the Texas legislature. The first attempt was defeated after opponents of the law were able to stall the vote until after first special session had ended. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: Texas Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) leads a rally in support of Texas women's right to reproductive decisions at the Texas state capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This is first day of a second legislative special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pass an restrictive abortion law through the Texas legislature. The first attempt was defeated after opponents of the law were able to stall the vote until after first special session had ended. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 25: Reproductive rights advocates fill the Texas capitol celebrating the defeat of the controversial anti-abortion bill SB5, which was up for a vote on the last day of the legislative special session June 25, 2013 in Austin, Texas. A combination of State Sen. Wendy Davis' (D-Ft. Worth) 13-hour filibuster and protests by reproductive rights advocates helped to ultimately defeat the controversial abortion legislation at midnight. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2014 file photo, the Hilltop Women's Reproductive clinic is photographed in El Paso, Texas. A federal judge Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca, File)
File - In this Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, Dottie and Tom Knodell, opponents of abortion, hold signs outside a Planned Parenthood Clinic, in San Antonio. A U.S. appeals court on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, issued a ruling reinstating most of Texas' tough new abortion restrictions, which means as many as 12 clinics will not be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this July 12, 2013, file photo, abortion rights supporters rally on the floor of the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas. A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, allowed Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state's clinics to stop providing abortions. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa, File)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have allowed the state to move ahead with regulations requiring abortion facilities to be constructed like surgical centers. Doctors at all clinics also would be forced to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The clinics said enforcing the new regulations would lead to a second major wave of clinic closures statewide in as many years. Texas had 41 abortion clinics in 2012; 19 remain.

Abortion Providers in Texas versus the United States | FindTheData

The regulations would have left the state with no clinic west of San Antonio. Only one would have been able to operate on a limited basis in the Rio Grande Valley.

In November 2013, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that four justices probably would want to review the constitutionality of the regulations.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners