Federal judge blocks Texas from enforcing new abortion restrictions

Federal judge blocks Texas from enforcing new abortion restrictions
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A federal judge in Texas on Thursday blocked the state from implementing new restrictions that would have banned a second-trimester abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel issued a temporary injunction stopping a ban on the procedure known as "dilation and evacuation," The Associated Press reported, in what is a major defeat for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

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Similar laws have been struck down in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and a court challenge is ongoing in Arkansas, according to the AP.

The Texas ban was passed in response to the Supreme Court's decision last year tossing out the state’s previous effort to restrict abortion. The justices struck down a 2013 Texas law that raised requirements for abortion providers and led to more than half of the clinics in the state shutting down. Texas now has about 20 clinics, according to the AP, down from 41 before the law passed.

Thursday’s decision isn’t the first setback for Texas Republicans on abortion this year. In February, another federal judge halted the state's plan to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.

"The decision is disappointing and flies in the face of basic human decency," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said at the time.

The court in that decision, though, said that as written that law blocked citizens from choosing the health care provider of their choice.

“Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider,” wrote District Judge Sam Sparks.