A US court upheld on Tuesday the most restrictive provisions of a Texas law that could force the closure of more than half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics, in a major blow to reproductive rights activists. Texas asked a three-judge panel on the fifth US circuit court of appeals, one of the nation’s most conservative courts, to overturn a decision by a US district judge that temporarily blocked an onerous provision of the state’s abortion law from going into effect. The law, which was put on hold by the US supreme court in October while the appeals process played out, requires all clinics in the state to meet the standards of hospital-like ambulatory surgical centers. Abortion rights advocates and health care providers who opposed the law say the upgrades are costly and unnecessarily burdensome – the stringent operational requirements would force clinics to spend millions to comply, which most can’t afford.
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