WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked certain restrictions on abortion contained in a Texas state law.
The high court granted a request filed by abortion rights groups that puts on hold parts of a federal appeals court decision that had allowed the law to go into effect.
The brief court order said that requirements that clinics have certain hospital-like settings for surgeries could not go into effect pending appeal.
The order also said that a provision that requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic could not be enforced for clinics in McAllen and El Paso, cities near the Mexican border. The provision will be in force in the rest of the state.
Abortion rights groups have said the regulations are unnecessary and served as a veiled attempt to shut abortion clinics. Supporters of the law say the rules would reduce complications and improve patient care.
Three conservatives on the nine-justice high court, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have allowed the law to go into effect in full.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said on Oct. 2 that Texas could begin enforcing both requirements.
Abortion rights groups have said the measures as a whole would shutter all but seven clinics in the state of more than 26 million people.