Thirteen abortion clinics that shut down in Texas earlier this month can reopen while legal challenges wind through the court system, the Supreme Court ruled today. The decision means that a total of 21 clinics will be open throughout the state, reports ScotusBlog. Justices issued a four-sentence order that blocked the state from enforcing two provisions of a 2013 anti-abortion law until appeals are heard by the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The latter court had ruled on Oct. 2 that the provisions can take effect in the meantime, and the Supreme Court today overruled that decision, reports AP.
One of the provisions blocked from taking effect requires clinics statewide to have hospital-level surgical centers, a threshold most could not reach. The other requires that doctors at a clinic in McAllen and another in El Paso have admitting privileges to local hospitals. Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas said they disagreed with today's unsigned decision and would have kept the clinics closed. The 5th Circuit court is hearing a broader constitutional challenge to the entire law. (Read more Texas stories.)