A divided Supreme Court is allowing the state of Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state's clinics to stop providing abortions. The justices voted 5-4 today to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The decision means the rule stays in place as the case plays out in the lower courts.
The court's conservative majority refused the plea of Planned Parenthood and several Texas abortion clinics to overturn a preliminary federal appeals court ruling that allowed the provision to take effect. The case remains on appeal to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. That court is expected to hear arguments in January, and the law will remain in effect at least until then.