In this July 12, 2013 file photo, abortion rights supporters rally on the floor of the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas. New abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and will not take effect as scheduled on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, a federal judge has ruled.
Tamir Kalifa/AP

Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

Updated
Three months ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed sweeping new restrictions on reproductive rights into law, including a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and new regulations intended to close most of the state’s women’s health clinics. At the time, proponents of reproductive rights expressed confidence that they’d prevail in the courts.
 
So far, those predictions look pretty good.
A federal judge has ruled that new abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and should not take effect as planned on Tuesday.
 
District Judge Lee Yeakel issued his decision Monday following a three-day trial over whether the state can restrict when, where and how women obtain abortions in Texas.
 
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers argued that the regulations did not protect women and would shut down a third of the abortion clinics in Texas.
State Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), considered one of the leading GOP candidates for governor next year, is expected to file an emergency appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
 
This is, you’ll recall, the same measure that state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) fought against over the summer. She initially prevailed, derailing the restrictions on reproductive rights, though Perry ultimately called another special session of the state legislature to get his proposal to his desk.
 
Also note, as Republican efforts to impose new abortion restrictions have intensified, courts have been the last remaining backstop to protect women’s reproductive rights. Today’s ruling in Texas follows similar victories in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Idaho.
 
Update: My MSNBC colleague Irin Carmon has more on the nuances of today’s ruling, including an explanation as to which provisions of the new state law were at issue. It’s important to note, for example, that the 20-week limit was not part of this case.

Abortion, Reproductive Rights and Texas

Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions

Updated