District Judge Lee Yeakel rejected part of Texas’ anti-abortion law Friday, in effect preventing the closure of more than half the state’s remaining clinics.

The rule in question would have required abortion facilities to meet the same standards, including with regard to ventilation and parking, as surgery centers. The law, which also requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles, was passed last year and was widely condemned by pro-choice advocates as a way of forcing clinics to close.

According to The New York Times, Texas had 41 abortion providers in 2012, the year before the law was passed. It currently has 19. NARAL Pro-Choice says that the surgery center rule, which would have gone into effect Monday, would have reduced that number to eight, leaving “one legal abortion provider for every one million Texans who could become pregnant.”

The Texas attorney general’s office pledged to appeal the ruling, and has had success doing so in the past. A previous decision by Yeakel related to the admitting privileges rule was overturned on appeal.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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