The U.S. Supreme Court let Texas enforce a law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a measure that prompted at least a dozen clinics to close.
Voting 5-4 to reject calls from abortion clinics, the justices left intact a federal appeals court decision that said the law could go into effect during a legal fight over its constitutionality.
The Oct. 31 appeals court ruling prompted women’s clinics in five cities to stop providing abortions. It also meant that women seeking an abortion 15 or more weeks into pregnancy had to travel to Dallas or Houston, the only cities with open facilities that could legally perform those procedures.
The law would require doctors to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers). The measure also puts new restrictions on drug-induced abortions, although those restrictions weren’t at issue in the Supreme Court appeal.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, signed the new restrictions into law this year after Democrats, led by state Senator Wendy Davis, made a last-ditch effort to kill the measure with a filibuster.