Supreme Court Saves Texas Abortion Clinics. For Now.

An emergency stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday will keep 10 Texas abortion clinics open at least until the court's fall term.

The clinics were set to close following the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in June to uphold a Texas law that requires any health clinic performing abortions to be a certified ambulatory surgical center. Opponents of the law contend that its only purpose is to restrict access to abortion. State officials contend that the law, a claim that is disputed by members of the medical community.

Had Texas' clinics not ready to meet the new requirements closed, fewer than 10 abortion providers would have been left in the state. Each clinic would've been located in a major metropolitan area — DFW, Austin, Houston or San Antonio — except for a McAllen clinic that was given an exemption from the requirements by the 5th Circuit.

The women's health organizations challenging the law appealed the 5th Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court. Throughout the court's current term, the Texas case, along with a similar case from Mississippi, have languished in conference, without the court deciding whether or not to hear them. Monday's ruling keeps Texas from enforcing the full breadth of its law until the court makes that decision, which will now happen in the court's October term at the earliest.

"We’re relieved that the high court has, once again, prevented anti-choice politicians from pushing safe and affordable abortion care entirely out of reach for Texas women. We at Whole Woman’s Health know that reproductive care is not some political bargaining chip—that’s part of why we’re fighting this. With today’s ruling, we remain hopeful that the justice system too will stand with Texas woman and Whole Woman’s Health," Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Women's Health, one of the plaintiffs in the case said after the ruling.