A court in Texas has made a ruling that could dramatically cut the number of abortion clinics in the state.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law, approved in 2013, which requires abortion clinics to meet certain hospital-level standards.
The ruling said that the Texas legislation, expected to take effect on 1 July, was intended to protect women’s health.
In November, pro-life groups urged the federal appeals court to uphold the state law.
The legislation had been on hold since a district judge ruled last year that it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court allowed abortion clinics to stay open while the legal case continued.
Before the law was approved in 2013, 41 abortion clinics were operating in the state – there are now 18. Following the latest ruling, a further eleven clinics are set to close as they do not meet hospital-level operating standards.
Pro-abortion groups have filed a motion to stop the legislation coming into force, saying they plan to take the case to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker has pledged to sign into law measures to stop abortions after 20 weeks if it is passed by the state Assembly.
The state Senate has already approved the measure, which is based on scientific evidence showing that babies can feel pain in the womb after 20 weeks.
A similar federal law has been introduced to the US Senate following approval by the House of Representatives last month.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortion after 20 weeks in every state – but President Obama has indicated that he is likely to veto the legislation.
In Arkansas, the state’s Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is fighting against a ruling made last week, which said the state’s twelve-week abortion limit is unconstitutional.
Advocate for the unborn
She has filed a petition seeking a rehearing, saying she will “continue to be a strong advocate for the unborn”.
And in Florida, two pro-abortion groups are suing the state of Florida, after its Governor Rick Scott signed into law a measure requiring women to have a 24-hour waiting period before they are allowed an abortion.