The state says it has already filed an 'emergency appeal' of a federal court ruling on Monday which threw out a portion of the state's tough new abortion law, and right to life activists praised U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin for upholding portions of the new law, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Texas Right to Life President Joe Pojman said he was pleased that Yeakel did not throw out all of the law.
"We are pleased that the judge upheld the requirement that abortion clinics abide by the FDA protocol for use of (the 'abortion drug') RU-486 except in emergency situations," Pojman said.
A portion of the law which limits abortions to twenty weeks gestation, which was not challenged in the courts, also takes effect today.
But the main portion of the law was blocked by Yeakel, who said that a provision which required all abortion clinics to employ a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital no more than thirty miles from the clinic was 'medically unnecessary' and violated the Roe v. Wade 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion.
"On the admitting requirement, this was good news, because Judge Yeakel's ruling maintains some of the abortion care that was already happening," said Jeffrey Hons, who heads Planned Parenthood of South Texas.
About half of the state's abortion clinics said they would have to close their doors had the 30 mile requirement been allowed to go into effect today as scheduled. Many said they had tried and failed to get their doctors admitting privileges at area hospitals, and other clinics said there is simply not a hospital within thirty miles.
"Even if we had gotten the ruling we would have gotten, we knew we would be going to the appeals court," said Kylene Wright of Texans Uniting for Life. "We are in it for the long haul."
The other provisions of the law, which was unsuccessfully filibustered by Democratic governor candidate Wendy Davis before being approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Perry, took effect at midnight as scheduled.