Texas abortion debate

Associated Press
File - In this July 9, 2013 file photo, opponents and supporters of an abortion bill hold signs near a news conference outside the Texas Capitol, in Austin, Texas. New abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and will not take effect as scheduled on Tuesday, a federal judge has ruled. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that most of Texas' tough new abortion restrictions can take effect immediately — a decision that means a third of the state's clinics that perform the procedure won't be able to do so starting as soon as Friday.

A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward. The panel issued the ruling three days after District Judge Lee Yeakel said the provision serves no medical purpose. (AP)

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